Radiant City

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Radiant City
Theatrical poster
Directed by Gary Burns
Jim Brown
Produced by Shirley Vercruysse
Bonnie Thompson
Music by John Bissell
Natalie Baartz
Joey Santiago
Distributed by Alliance Atlantis
Release date
  • September 10, 2006 (2006-09-10) (TIFF)
Running time
93 minutes
Country Canada
Language English
Box office $78,944[1]

Radiant City is a 2006 Canadian film[2] written and directed by Gary Burns and Jim Brown. It is about the suburban sprawl and the Moss family's life in the suburbs. The film is openly critical towards suburban sprawl and its negative effects, being ironic and amusing at the same time.

It was revealed to be a mockumentary at the end of the film.

The fictional part is about the five members of the Moss family who have just moved from the city into a new suburban development of Evergreen (part of Evergreen) in Calgary, Alberta. The family discuss and portray the life in the suburbs and the various flaws and advantages of a modern suburban life, with a considerably greater emphasis on the flaws. While the characters and instances in the movie are fictional, the actors that play them all live in real suburban areas.

Interspersed with this narrative, experts speak about their views of the suburbs. These include Ken Greenberg, Joseph Heath, Mark Kingwell, James Howard Kunstler, Marc Boutin, Andrés Duany and Beverly Sandalack. These portions are filmed in different suburban areas of North America, including Oakville, Ontario.


The Moss family decides to move from the inner city of Calgary to a suburban area called Evergreen to satisfy Ann Moss's desire of living in a new house. Her husband, Evan Moss, is still keeping his job downtown, which forces him to consume two hours of commuting time. Apparently, even if the area offers everything that is needed by a family in walking distance, one is isolated due to constructions, buildings, distance, and the area layout and is constantly forced to rely on the car for every little need. The family carries on its ordinary life with Ann having a positive opinion of their new life and Evan and the kids can see more clearly on the flaws and disadvantages of this lifestyle. However, they go along with it, constantly trying to find their way to justify their choice.



The soundtrack features songs from Joey Santiago of The Pixies.

Release and reception[edit]

Radiant City was presented at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival with a very warm reception.[3][4] It was also premiered at several film festivals, including Vancouver and Calgary International Film Festivals, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival and the São Paulo It’s All True Documentary International Film Festival, San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival and the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Radiant City has received generally favorable reviews.[3] The film currently holds a 93% "Certified Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, an average rating of 6.8/10 from 15 critics with no consensus yet.[5] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 60 (out of 100) based on 6 reviews from mainstream critics, considered to be "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film won the Genie Award of Best Documentary at the 28th Genie Awards and the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Vancouver International Film Festival. It was also the runner up for best Canadian film on the 2007 Toronto Film Critic’s List.[2][3][4]

Home media[edit]

The movie has also been released in DVD on March 4, 2008. The DVD includes the original English version of the film and the English version with French subtitles.


  1. ^ "Radiant City (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "National Film Board of Canada". 
  3. ^ a b c "The Film Reference Library (FRL) - Essays, Andrea Whyte 2006" (PDF). Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Seitz, Matt Zoller. "Radiant City". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Radiant City (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Radiant City". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]