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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Dream city

18 minutes

New York City, 1986 – the grit, the graffiti, the glory

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


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