A speculative city symphony inspired by London’s Great Smog of 1952. Merging reality with fiction, THE VEILED CITY invites us to understand the smog in the context of the present-day climate crisis.

Director's Statement

When I came across photographs of London during the Great Smog of 1952 I immediately knew that I wanted to make a film that responded to this event. I was struck by the way in which the smog had a beguiling effect – turning the city into a site of both dream – like magic and foreboding death.

The smog was an early example of a large-scale environmental disaster caused entirely by humans, in one of the centres of industrialisation. One of the first red flags that we were entering the Anthropocene. I think it’s interesting to reappraise the footage through the lens of the Anthropocene because it introduces an existential timescale to the archival material.

When I started looking at the archive of the smog I felt that the images could almost be from a future disaster, and that set up temporal tension that lent itself to speculative storytelling. I’m fascinated by the slippages between the past, the present, and the future, and the way in which memory exists almost outside of time. This links with my on-going interest in psychogeography; how the traces of the past constitute the present and the future, and how our experience of place and landscape is always temporal, always subjective.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Natalie Cubides-Brady

Written by: Natalie Cubides-Brady

Produced by: Jacob Swan Hyam

Editing: Ona Bartroli

Original Score: Athena Varosio

Sound: Ben Goodall

Cast: Aerynne Eastwood (Narrator)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2024