MANHATTA
2K digital restoration

by Charles SHEELER & Paul STRAND
1920-1921 / 35mm / b&w / sound / 1S / 12' 05

2K digital restoration 2008 from sole surviving 35mm dupe negative held at BFI that was screened at the London Film Society in 1926.
Restored 2008 by Bruce POSNER at DTS/Lowry Digital for Anthology Film Archives, British Film Institute, Lane Collection Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, and EYE Film Institute Netherlands.
“Artists/photographers Charles SHEELER and Paul STRAND created one of the earliest achievements in 20th century film modernism. This expressive film resonates a grand passion for New York City and visualizes selected passages of Walt Whitman’s poetic text.” —Bruce POSNER
“In 1920, photographer Paul STRAND and painter-photographer Charles SHEELER, who had acquired a French 35mm Debrie movie camera, collaborated on a short non-commercial art film, now titled ‘Manhatta.’ They began to shoot in lower Manhattan working without scenario or script. Many of the scenes were made from the upper floors of skyscrapers in order to emphasize the geometric character of the city's architecture and to suggest the ant-like character of its population. In their press release, Strand wrote that they had tried to ‘register directly the living forms in front of them and reduce [them] through rigid selection…to their most intensest [sic] terms of expressiveness…’ to capture the ‘elusive spirit’ of New York, without resorting to ‘artifice or photographic trickery.’” —Naomi Rosenblum
“’Manhatta’ is a singular, landmark accomplishment in the history of early twentieth-century modernism. A collaboration between two very different artistic temperaments, Charles SHEELER and Paul STRAND, ‘Manhatta’ stands at a crossroad of various ideas about what modernism was and could be in 1920. It is homage to the radically democratic vision of American poet Walt Whitman and the avant-garde urban photography of Alfred Stieglitz as well as a harbinger of the coldly detached, abstract, analytical machine aesthetic that would define the precisionist style of the 1920s. Over the course of the twentieth century much of the visual clarity and intellectual brilliance that Sheeler and Strand invested in the project was lost due to the poor handling and deteriorating condition of the film. This remarkable digital restoration has made Manhatta visible and intelligible once again.” —Charles Brock

New Music 2008 by Donald Sosin
Performed by Slovak Sinfonietta
Conducted by Peter Breiner
Courtesy: Masterworks of American Avant-garde Experimental Film 1920-1970

1 PRINT IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format Digital file on server
screen 4/3 (single screen)
sound sound
rental fee 150,00 €