Bridge High & Stations of the Elevated

Director: Manfred Kirchheimer
USA / 1975 / 1981 / 10 min / 46 min

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A city symphony directed, produced, and edited by Manfred Kirchheimer, Stations of the Elevated weaves together vivid images of graffiti-covered elevated subway trains crisscrossing the gritty urban landscape of 1970s New York, to a commentary-free soundtrack that combines ambient city noise with jazz and gospel by Charles Mingus and Aretha Franklin. Gliding through the South Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan—and making a rural detour past a correctional facility upstate—the film, shot on lush 16mm color reversal stock, is an impressionistic portrait of and tribute to a New York that has long since disappeared. Stations of the Elevated is preceded by Kirchheimer’s Bridge High, which tracks an abstracted crossing of the Whitestone Bridge.