Stations of the Elevated
dir. Manfred Kirchheimer, US, 1980, DCP, 45 min.
Introduced by Manfred Kirchheimer
The first ever filmed document of graffiti, Manfred Kirchheimer’s richly chromatic 16mm tone poem sets images of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn to a soundtrack that interweaves ambient city noises with the gutbucket gospel sound of jazz titan Charles Mingus. Long regarded by cinephiles and hip-hop heads as an obscure cult masterpiece since it premiered at the 1981 New York Film Festival, Stations of the Elevated is a celebration of a quintessentially urban art form—at a time when it was largely dismissed as vandalism. With lyrical shots of tagged trains, desolate rail yards, and other details of the urban landscape, it remains a priceless portrait of a bygone era of New York City culture.
“A 45-minute proto-hip-hop bliss-out, a masterpiece of train- and tag-spotting.” — The Village Voice
“When a train is whizzing by you in a station, graffiti is literally in your face! But when you get a chance to see it at a distance, especially on elevated trains — my God! You realize what incredible works of art these things are.” — Stations of the Elevated filmmaker Manfred Kirchheimer
dir. Manfred Kirchheimer, US, 1968, DCP, b/w, 30 min.
A poetic, deeply critical examination of urban renewal. An Artists Public Domain/Cinema Conservancy release.