At the beginning of cinema, there was the city. Both in some ways products of the modern urban worlds that emerged from the Industrial Revolution, cinema and city are symbiotic. If the city is the place where ‘things happen’, cinema is the medium that captures its ephemeral movements. So it is that we find the city to be central not just to the productions by those who patented the new invention-the brothers Lumière in 1895-but also to those earlier experimenters of the medium such as Louis Le Prince, the Skladanowsky brothers and Thomas Edison. 1 Through the medium of cinema, these figures immortalised worlds in mid-metamorphosis, worlds that were changing-and crystallising-on a daily basis, shaped by the dynamism of modernity. Take for example the Lumière Company which embarked on an ambitious project that aimed to create visual archives of cities, historical monuments, picturesque sceneries and the happenings of modernity. 2 In these, the city began to be explored as the centre of human conflicts and challenges. Following this trend, the industry devised narratives that imaged the oppositions and contradictions of modern urban life as a contrast to the idealised archaism of the countryside. 3 From the multiple meanings of the city, movies soon emphasised their role as witnesses, symbols and protagonists of universal and national histories and of the passage of time. Thus it was that cinema, by the turn of the century, had already become a valuable instrument by which pioneers could visualise and normalise the complex spatial relations of modern societies, the social codes of communities and individuals, and their forms of public communication and ritualisation. 4 Cinema, then, contributed to the legibility of-and even legitimised-cities and their landmarks, 5 as well as to the re-evaluation of places overlooked or marginalised by earlier urban narratives.