Stations of the Elevated

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Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 124
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Movie Info

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. STATIONS captures the exuberant height of the 1970's graffiti movement in New York, featuring the work of early legends including Lee, Fabulous 5, Shadow, Daze, Kase, Butch, Blade, Slave, 12 T2B, Ree, and Pusher. At a time when graffiti was largely dismissed as vandalism and a symbol of urban decay, Kirchheimer explores it as a form of self-expression and a reaction to New York's social and economic conditions, an artistic counterpoint to the "legalized vandalism" dominating the city's visual landscape in the form of corporate advertising. Juxtaposing the colorful imagery of 'tagged' cars with shots of hand-painted billboards depicting hamburgers and bikini-clad women, STATIONS forces audiences to ask: "What is urban art, and what role does it play in the daily life of a city?" (C) Artist Public Domain

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Critic Reviews for Stations of the Elevated

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

  • Stations of the Elevated plays like a time capsule, particularly for having no dialogue or plot. It swings to Charles Mingus's hardest bop and evokes a long-gone city, somehow more adult and confrontational even in silence.

    Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: 4/5
  • The film's range of subjects and ideas quickly expands to probe the exhilaration of city life itself.

    Oct 13, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Lumbering, skronking, and wondrously paint-bombed, Manfred Kirchheimer's Stations of the Elevated (1981) is a 45-minute proto-hip-hop bliss-out, a masterpiece of train- and tag-spotting ...

    Jun 24, 2014 | Full Review…
  • All that we see in this beautiful, poetic documentary is nothing less than the birthplace of hip-hop.

    Sep 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • New York can be a chaotic city, and [Charles] Mingus' music (and personality) a volatile match, but there are tender moments to both the city and the music.

    Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Kirchheimer appears more interested in the way the subway interacts with urban life, cutting through neighbourhoods like a scalpel through flesh and how people have taken to the individual subway cars as canvases to educate, provoke, and infuriate.

    Oct 17, 2014 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Stations of the Elevated

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