Thursday, May 30th, 7:30 PM
Dream of a City
2018, 39m, DCP Digital
Shot between 1958 and 1960 with Walter Hess, largely on black and white film, this long gestating project is Kirchheimer’s most concentrated work yet. Documenting the gradual progress of a high-rise construction site, the film expands concentrically to embrace the thrumming life and resplendent grandeur of mid-century New York from the waterfront to Hell’s Kitchen. An alternately harmonious and cacophonous collage of Bach, Debussy, and Shostakovich plays against the sounds of street life and heavy industry, as the film moves between center and periphery and back again. Surreal flights of fancy mix with hard doses of reality. A Whitman-esque excursus to the natural environs of the Delaware River abruptly gives way to the maze-like canyons of Wall Street. Less city symphony than symphonic suite à la Duke Ellington’s “Asphalt Jungle”, this opus comprises a personal valediction on a bye-gone era.
From Joris Ivens (De Brug) to Shirley Clarke (Bridges-Go-Round), the bridge film has long constituted one of the key sub-genres of city symphony. Kirchheimer’s own entry documents his half-minute crossing of the George Washington Bridge. Dilated to nearly 10 minutes, the passage conveys the fleeting sense of freedom a bridge promises.
Total Runtime: 49m
This program is part of Dream of a City and Manfred Kirchheimer’s New York