Saturday, May 25th, 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.
2014, 76m, HD Digital Turning his camera on one of the city’s most stigmatized labor communities, Kirchheimer composes a bottom-up picture of New York in the bike lane era. Arranged like a band of bop soloists, each improvising on the same chords, the gleaners who earn their keep redeeming metal, glass, and plastic recyclables tell tragicomic tales of fortune and failure, peppered with unexpected notes of wisdom and poetry. Against all odds, an optimistic film.
Total Runtime: 115m
Post-screening Q&A with director Manfred Kirchheimer
This program is part of Dream of a City and Manfred Kirchheimer’s New York