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Uncovering the Personality of Cities

"City D.N.A" is a captivating documentary that takes viewers on a unique journey into the heart of five popular Asian cities, revealing their distinct personalities.

Keywords: Urban exploration, Cultural diversity, Asian cities, Travel, Sociology. Three words: Intriguing, Informative, Engaging


"City D.N.A" is a fascinating documentary directed by Channel News Asia and released in 2018. It delves into the unique characteristics and traits of five popular Asian cities: Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Seoul. The documentary presents an intricate exploration of the cities' personalities, akin to human traits, and how they can be soulmates or mismatches for individuals.


"City D.N.A" offers an immersive journey into the heart of five Asian cities, highlighting their distinctive aspects that shape their identity. From the fast-paced lifestyle of Tokyo to the traditional charm of Taipei, the documentary portrays the cities as living entities with their own characteristics and quirks. The host explores these cities with fresh eyes, unearthing hidden facets of urban life that are rarely seen or discussed.

More Film Analysis


The documentary adopts an immersive and exploratory approach, using first-person narration and on-location footage to transport viewers into each city. The in-depth research and the host's interactions with locals provide an intimate understanding of each city's personality.

Historical and Factual Context

"City D.N.A" contextualizes each city within its historical, cultural, and sociopolitical background. This context provides viewers with a deeper understanding of the influences that shape each city's unique traits and characteristics.

Key themes in the film

  • Urban identity and personality
  • Cultural diversity and integration
  • Tradition versus modernity
  • Personal connection with cities

Film Comparisons

"City D.N.A" can be compared to other urban exploration documentaries like "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Metropolis," but it stands out for its focus on Asian cities and its anthropomorphic perspective of cities.

Noteworthy Moments

The documentary offers many revelations about the cities, from uncovering hidden cultural gems in Tokyo to exploring the fast-paced lifestyle and towering skyscrapers in Shanghai.


This documentary has been well-received for its fresh perspective on city exploration. Critics have praised it for its in-depth research and engaging narrative style, stating, "City D.N.A offers a unique viewpoint on urban life, presenting cities as living entities with personalities."


"City D.N.A" is an enlightening documentary for anyone interested in urban sociology, city planning, and Asian cultures. It offers a fresh and engaging perspective on city exploration, making it a must-watch for urban explorers and cultural enthusiasts.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: N/A
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
  • Metacritic score: N/A
  • Film festival awards: N/A



  • Host: Unnamed but provides an engaging and insightful exploration of each city.



  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo
  • Hong Kong
  • Taipei
  • Seoul

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  • How does a city's personality shape the experiences of its residents and visitors?
  • How do historical and cultural influences contribute to a city's unique traits?
  • Can cities be considered as living entities with their own characteristics and quirks?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, it would be "City of Glass" by Paul Auster for its exploration of city life and identity.
  2. If this film was a famous song, it would be "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys for its homage to a city's unique vibe.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, it would be "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper for its depiction of urban life.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, it would be Anthony Bourdain for his exploration of culture through cities.
  5. If this film was a color, it would be a vibrant mosaic of colors to represent the diversity of city life.
  6. If this film was a music style, it would be Jazz for its improvisational and diverse nature.