Program 70 min.
Colossus on the River. 1963. USA. Directed by Manfred Kirchheimer. 15 min.
An ode to a once-familiar ritual on the New York waterfront: the passage and docking of a transcontinental ocean liner.
Bridge High. 1975. USA. Directed by Manfred Kirchheimer. 10 min.
The allure of New York City’s bridges proved irresistible to filmmakers like Rudy Burckhardt (Under the Brooklyn Bridge, 1953) and Shirley Clarke (Bridges-Go-Round, 1958), but Kirchheimer’s contribution to this cinematic subgenre of Abstract Expressionism deserves fresh reconsideration. A 30-second car trip across a suspension bridge is stretched to nearly 10 minutes, creating an exuberant choreography of cables, girders, and arches.
Short Circuit. 1973. Directed by Manfred Kirchheimer. 45 min.
A documentary filmmaker finds himself torn between his family and his art, and questioning the liberal open-mindedness he shows toward his African American neighbors. Gazing down from his apartment on 101st Street and Broadway, he drifts into a kind of reverie, a montage of city sights and sounds that offers the promise of another life—and for us today, a wistful glimpse of an Upper West Side long since lost. “Constructed reality and documentary fiction, an unclassifiable masterpiece of ideas and technique that by all rights should be considered a landmark, had it not been virtually impossible to see” (Jake Perlin, Cinema Conservancy).