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Hurtling down the tracks of a New York City subway train line with the Twin Towers on the horizon, the camera suddenly plunges into the Hudson River. This is the startling opening to Dream City, the little-known experimental documentary that the US filmmaker and photographer Steven Siegel made in 1986. Frenetic camerawork and kinetic editing catapult us from scene to scene across the city as teenagers weigh in on topics ranging from the psychology of graffiti to income inequality and street harassment. The result – an absorbing confluence of time, place and visual style – is a distinctly New York jaunt that brings to mind the words of the poet Dylan Thomas: ‘I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question.’
Director: Steven Siegel
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
What do tropical fish make of the strange creatures who love them so?