180 Seconds City Tomorrow in Hamburg, Paris, Beijing

What influence does the realization of science fiction fantasies have on society? Futurologists in Tokyo study this question.
What influence does the realization of science fiction fantasies have on society? Futurologists in Tokyo study this question. | Filmstill: 180 Seconds City

Amel, a young bride-to-be, is visiting the Parisian bridal-wear boutique Magenta Mariage in the Barbès quarter. Brides of all confessions from Africa, Europe and China come here to search for glittering gowns and silky shoes. In the midst of lavish tulle and sequins, we accompany Amel for three minutes as she dreams of her future in Paris. That’s the format of 180 Seconds City: one character, one city and three minutes.
 

At the Robotics School the eleven-year-olds Edu and his friends tinker and programme today the Madrid of tomorrow. (Filmstill 180 Seconds City, Madrid) At the Robotics School the eleven-year-olds Edu and his friends tinker and programme today the Madrid of tomorrow. (Filmstill 180 Seconds City, Madrid) | (Filmstill 180 Seconds City, Madrid) In the fourth and final season of the short film series, young filmmakers captured stories about the future. For example, in the Spanish city of Madrid we meet Edu, who is mad about technology and robots. At the robotics school, he and his friends are working on the Madrid of tomorrow: robots on the zebra crossing, robots that can cook and drones in the sky over the city. At the end of the film, the 11-year-old wisely tells the camera, “Robots will help us do some things, but we will never love, have an intimate relationship with a robot.”

In Hamburg, the owners of small shops talk about their hopes and worries about their neighbourhoods. Christian, the “shoe king,” who mends shoes in Ottensen, Max, who designs shiny latex apparel in St. Pauli and Sevda, who sells baked goods in merrily colourful St. Georg. All of them hope that they won’t be driven out by major chains and can continue to make their living as merchants in Hamburg.


The international filmmakers compiled anecdotes in 16 different cities, thus creating a film mosaic around the globe. What moves people when they think about the future, what are their dreams, what is important to them? In Germany, graduates of the German School of Journalism went out in search of snapshots in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Leipzig. In cities abroad, young auteur filmmakers or editors for the Goethe-Institut created films for the series.

Seasons one to three of 180 Seconds City were devoted to the aspects of Space and Time, With One Another-Against One Another and Sharing and Exchanging. The fourth and final season is now taking a look at Tomorrow. What unites us, what divides us when we anticipate the future?

The 180-second portraits reveal happy as well as thoughtful and melancholy moments – from unbridled football euphoria in Leipzig’s third division to the vague anxieties of a couple in Montréal – compressed into three intense and personal minutes of a city.