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The Filmmaker Fund

A Machine To Live In

A Machine To Live In is a film about the imaginative and material process of building one’s own utopian city. It inquires into how does a history-defying utopian environment generate multiple, replicant, and competing utopias. The film hovers around the city of Brasiília, one of the most well-known models for the sci-fi-like vision of a modernist megacity. Forecast by an ancient prophet, Brasília was built in a rush to the bright future of Brazil in the sixties. Like a Martian outpost, this newly constructed capital sits on a red earthed plateau in Brazil’s sparsely populated interior. Its unique architecture is defined by massive concrete domes, swooping aluminum spires, pyramids, and geometric arrangements of repeating "superblocks." The idea was to produce an environment that would mould a hyper-rational citizenry in a country infamous for its massive sprawl and chaotic city planning. When Yuri Gagarin—Soviet cosmonaut and first man in space—arrived in Brasília, he was quoted as saying: “I feel as if I stepped on the surface of another planet, not Earth" This is a document of the lives of designers and visionaries, occult politicians, transcendental youth, and the architects of mystical cults who live in and around Brasília. The film reveals how the inhabitants of these built environments become subjects of collective experiments in the architecture of the future — a future that’s already outdated. Experimental aerial cinematography plays the critical actor in this film. Using drones and dirigibles, A Machine To Live In features space-bending movement across, between, and through the material and symbolic structures of architecture.

Directed by

Yoni Goldstein / Meredith Zielke

Produced by

Zoe Sua Cho, Andrew Benz, Alex Janiuk