NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW

October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am

The film “Free Time” is an ode to New York. Tonight, see how resurrected 16 millimeter footage of Manhattan is a love letter from a filmmaker to the city he loves.

Aired on October 10, 2019. 

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>>> FILMMAKER MAN FORD
KIRSCHHEIMER HAS BEEN
DOCUMENTING NEW YORK CITY INIS
INIMITABLE WAY FOR HALF A
CENTURY.
THE 80-YEAR-OLD FILM PROFESSOR
HAS LOVED NEW YORK SINCE HE AND
HIS FAMILY CAME HERE IN 1936 TO
ESCAPE NAZI GERMANY.
IT'S RECORDED THE RHYTHMS OF HIS
ADOPTED CITY.
FOR HIS NEWEST FILM WHICH HAD
ITS PREMIERE AT LINCOLN CENTER,
HE USED FOOTAGE HE AND A
COLLEAGUE SHOT 60 YEARS AGO.
"FREE TIME" IS A MEDITATION OF
CITY LIFE SET TO THE SOUNDS OF
JAZZ AND CLASSICAL MUSIC, THIS
TIME CARPETING THE METROPOLIS
DURING A SEEMINGLY GENTLER TIME
GONE BY.
HERE IS A PREVIEW.

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>> AND JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT
"FREE TIME" AND ABOUT HIS LIFE
AND CAREER IS FILMMAKER MANNY
KIRSCHHEIMER.
IT'S AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU HERE,
WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU, RAFAEL.
>> YOU SHOT THIS FILM 60 YEARS
AGO.
WHY DID YOU SHOOT THIS FILM,
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL INTENTION
WITH IT?
>> WELL, WALTER HESS, MY PARTNER
AT THE TIME, AND I WERE SHOOTING
A LARGE SCRIPTED FILM CALLED
"DREAM OF A CITY."
AND ITS MAIN THEME HAD TO DO
WITH THE WAY THE GLASS BOXES
WERE TAKING OVER THE CITY, THE
DOWNTOWN, MIDTOWN PART OF IT.
>> THE GLASS SKYSCRAPERS?
>> YEAH.
I CALL THEM BOXES, YOU KNOW?
WE DEPLORED IT.
AND IT HAD SCENES OF THE
WRECKING OF THE WOOLDER BUILDIN
IN FAVOR OF THE NEWER ONES.
WE DIDN'T GET TO EDIT THAT FILM
BUT WE SHOT A GREAT DEAL OF
MATERIAL, WE SHOT OVER 30 HOURS'
WORTH OF MATERIAL WITH A BOLEX
BLACK AND WHITE, 100-FOOT ROLLS.
ANYWAY, SO SINCE WE WEREN'T ABLE
TO EDIT IT TOGETHER, I ASKED
PERMISSION FROM HIM TO MAKE MY
OWN FILMS OUT OF THE MATERIAL
AND HE COULD MAKE HIS OWN FILMS.
SO THAT SOON AFTER, I MADE A
HALF HOUR FILM CALLED "CLAW,"
WHICH WAS ABOUT THAT SUBJECT.
>> BUT NOW YOU REVIVE IT AND
MAKE A WHOLE FILM OUT OF THAT
FOOTAGE.
WHY NOW?
>> RIGHT.
THAT WAS ONLY A HALF HOUR, AND
THIS IS AN HOUR.
WHY NOW?
I MADE A FILM LAST YEAR WHICH I
ACTUALLY CALLED "DREAM OF A
CITY" WHICH WAS ALSO AT THE FILM
FESTIVAL.
YOU KNOW, I -- I DON'T LIKE TO
MAKE THE SAME KIND OF FILM TWICE
IN A ROW.
SO IN BETWEEN I MADE A TALKING
HEADS FILM, AN INTERVIEW FILM
CALLED "MIDDLE CLASS MONEY,
HONEY," ALL ABOUT PEOPLE'S
RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY.
THEN I FIGURED, ALL RIGHT, I'LL
GO BACK TO THIS MATERIAL AND SEE
WHAT'S LEFT.
AND SO THAT BECAME "FREE TIME."
>> SO YOU'VE BEEN SHOOTING THIS
FILM -- I MEAN, THIS CITY, FOR
DECADES.
PROBABLY NO ONE KNOWS BETTER HOW
IT HAS CHANGED.
HOW DO YOU THINK IT HAS CHANGED
FOR THE BETTER AND FOR THE
WORSE?
>> WELL, FOR THE BETTER, THE AIR
QUALITY IS BETTER.
THERE ARE TREES EVERYWHERE.
THERE IS NOT A TREE IN THIS
FILM, YOU KNOW?
AND NOW, I MEAN, I LIVE ON
BROADWAY AND THE MALL IS FILLED,
IT'S LUSH, YOU KNOW THAT IT'S
SUMMERTIME WHEN IT'S SUMMERTIME.
THOSE TWO THINGS WHERE
DEFINITELY IMPROVED.
WHAT'S GOTTEN WORSE IS THE
TRAFFIC, OH, MY GOD, YOU KNOW,
ON ANY DAY, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
DAY, THINGS ARE BLOCKED UP.
AND THE FACT WHICH THE FILM
DEMONSTRATES, THAT KIDS DON'T
PLAY ON THE STREET ANYMORE.
>> THAT'S TRUE.
>> AND I ATTRIBUTE THAT TO THE
CELLPHONE.
I THINK THE KIDS GO UP TO THEIR
HOUSES AFTER SCHOOL AND DON'T GO
DOWN TO PLAY THE WAY WE USED TO.
>> FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IGNITED
THIS LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN YOU AND
THIS CITY?
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE THIS
THE PREMIER SUBJECT OF YOUR
FILM?
>> WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S A
LOVE/HATE AFFAIR, ACTUALLY.
OUR PROTEST AGAINST THOSE GLASS
BOXES WAS A BAD PART OF THE
CITY, AND IT'S HAPPENING NOW IN
BROOKLYN AND IT'S HAPPENING ON
57th STREET, IN MANHATTAN, YOU
KNOW, THESE VERY TALL STRUCTURES
VYING WITH THE EMPIRE STATE, YOU
KNOW, AND CASTING SHADOWS ON THE
PARK.
SO THAT'S THE HATE PART OF NEW
YORK, I REALLY DEPLORE IT AS I
GO DOWN THE AVENUE.
>> WE'VE GOT 10 TO 15 SECONDS
LEFT.
ARE YOU STILL GOING OUT ON THE
STREETS SHOOTING?
>> NO.
MY LAST FILM, I WENT OUT ON THE
STREET AND INTERVIEWED PEOPLE
WHO COLLECTED CANS AND BOTTLES
FOR A NICKEL.
>> AS I TOLD YOU BEFORE, WHEN I
CAME TO NEW YORK CITY, I ALMOST
GOT YOU AS A PROFESSOR, NOW I
WISH I DID, IT WAS THE WRONG
DECISION.
IT WAS AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU HERE
WITH US.
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH, RAFAEL.
>> "FREE TIME" IS UNDER WAY AT
LINCOLN CENTER.
FOR MORE INFORMATION HEAD ON
OVER TO METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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