Stations of the Elevated (1981) is a 45-minute city symphony directed, produced and edited by Manfred Kirchheimer. Shot on lush 16mm color reversal stock, the film 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 – making a rural detour past a correctional facility upstate – Stations of the Elevated is an impressionistic portrait of and tribute to a New York that has long since disappeared.
A unique portrait of NYC, the newly restored documentary gives audiences a taste of a reckless, boldly creative time. Boasting a soundtrack by jazz legend Charles Mingus & Aretha Franklin, the film explores the richness of graffiti culture.