This experimental narrative piece offers an abstract view of a contemporary city and the people who inhabit it

“Lyricism and visual beauty are evident in this film as three issei (first generation Japanese Americans) describe a collective history through their personal memories.”

Third World Newsreel
Synopsis: 

The vibrancy of the City of Los Angeles is expressed by an intricate interweaving of optical print effects and an eclectic soundtrack. This experimental narrative piece offers an abstract view of a contemporary city and the people who inhabit it.

     CITY CITY is the creation of Duane Kubo, one of the founding members of the vanguard Asian American media arts organization, Visual Communications. Intended as director Kubo’s take on news ways of envisioning children’s programming, the film employed various cinematic techniques not seen in VC productions up to that point. CITY CITY was also distinguished by its step-printing techniques, courtesy of visual effects consultant Donna Deitch, who would later direct the landmark DESERT HEARTS.

Reviews

Director's Commentary: 

CITY CITY was made in 1972, and was really aimed at an elementary school audience. Up until that time, as I’ve looked at some of the children’s movies that were out at the time, a lot of them were shot in a very traditional way…it was very obvious what the storyline was, and even talked down to kids. I have kids now, and I even see that. Anyway, I wanted to try and do a film that exposed multi-culturalism to all kids, but maybe in an experimental fashion. I wanted to hit them with a number of different images that they may not have seen before; cityscapes that they have seen every day, yet manipulated in a different way [through optical printing]…just to open up for question, what is around kids, and the type of people we’re around?

— Excerpted from an interview conducted by Arthur Dong, August, 1990