A Machine To Live In


Virtual Cinema Thu, Nov 19 5:00 PM - Thu, Dec 3 11:59 PM
Introduction TBA
Q&A after the film with: Directors Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke
Film Info
Run Time:87 min
Release Year:2019
Production Country:USA
Original Langauge:Portuguese
Social Media



A Machine to Live In is about the imaginative and material processes of building one’s utopia. The film documents the history of the highly-controlled modernist planning in Brazil alongside radical projects in cult and mystical architecture. The film’s attention radiates outward from Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa’s capital, Brasília, to the flourishing landscape of UFO cults, pyramids, monuments, and futurist projects.
The film unfolds through the Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector’s writings on the inauguration of Brasília in 1961 and subsequent interviews with Niemeyer. Her literature describes a fraught ideology embedded in the city’s concrete design and the film attempts to show how the desire for myth and reason can be expressed in building utopian spaces. It collects vignettes and stories from architects and builders as they describe their ideal cities, both real and transcendent.


Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke


Yoni Goldstein is an Israeli born, Chicago based filmmaker, cinematographer, and editor whose work puts forward multi-sited transects of body, conflict, and diaspora. Goldstein has gone on to work on a number of socially critical media projects: from examining hybridized healing practices in the Northern Andes (“La Curación”) to large scale tableux of historical and somatic memory (“The Jettisoned”). His works have exhibited in numerous international festivals and galleries, including Hot Springs Documentary Festival, Sydney Latino Film Festival, The Ann Arbor Film Festival, Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec, Hot Docs Digital Doc Shop, Globians Doc Fest Berlin, Aspekty Film Festival in Poland, and is collected in the US National Library of Science. His cinematographic works have been selected for The Cannes Film Festival, The Whitney Biennial, and The New Media Festival in Korea. Yoni Goldstein is an alum of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (BA 2004) and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 2009).

Meredith's Bio: 

Meredith Zielke is an award-winning international filmmaker and cinematographer whose work offers multiply situated interpretations of social systems. Since 2002, Meredith has worked on a number of social documentary projects: from futurist utopias, social control and UFO cults in Brazil (A Machine to Live In), to critical explorations of somatic memory and crypto-Judaic identities in Mexico City (The Jettisoned), hybridized healing practices in Ecuador (La Curacíon), juvenile life without parole sentencing in American prisons (Natural Life), and police violence in Chicago (Present Absence). In 2018, Meredith was named Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces” of independent cinema.

Her films have been presented internationally across several major festivals, conferences, galleries, and fora. Zielke's work as director, editor, and cinematographer has been selected and awarded at South by Southwest, The Whitney Biennial, Visions du Réel, True/False Film Festival, Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Hot Springs Film Festival, Hot Docs Digital Doc Shop, Globians Doc Fest Berlin, and is collected in the US National Library of Science. Awards include: The SFFILM 2017 Documentary Film Fund, Graham Foundation Grant to Individuals, the Filmmaker Fund Grant, Gelman Travel Fellowship, PBS Silvers Award for Independent Film, Invited participant: Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP’s Independent Film Week Forum, and Featured filmmaker at the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Zielke teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Film, Video, New Media and Animation department) and Northwestern University (Radio-TV-Film Department, Documentary Program). In 2019 she co-founded the PO Box Collective, an art collective and intergenerational social-practice community center.



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