Manhatta (Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, 1921)

I recently watched Redes (Emilio Gómez Mariel and Fred Zinnemann, 1936), from the first Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project box set, and Kent Jones’s visual essay which makes reference to Manhatta (1921), a documentary short made by photographer and Redes-cinematographer Paul Strand and painter Charles Sheeler. The short is not included in the WCP set (although it was included on the now OOP DVD set, Unseen Cinema), and so I thought I would share it here at MMC! The short is inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “Mannahatta” and is considered the USA’s first experimental film. Strand and Sheeler link their respective art forms (painting and photography) to cinema by preferring dynamic angles and compositions over movement, using editing and intertitles to express a monumental day in Lower Manhattan. The result is a visually engaging and invaluable document of the time.

Advertisements

One thought on “Manhatta (Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, 1921)

  1. floodmouse August 19, 2017 / 1:20 am

    Would be fun to make a remix, adding music & voiceover (have the poem recited instead of in title cards). Also trying to find the locations and shoot color footage of the same locations today, as close as possible to the camera angle from the original movie, and mix a few frames of “now” into “then” without changing the pace of the movie. I had never seen this before & didn’t know it existed. Thanks for the excellent post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s