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about the writer

Gabe Klinger currently teaches in the Film & Video Critical Studies Department at Columbia College, Chicago, and is a freelance writer and curator.

short films

This section has been edited by Belinda van de Graaf and Adrian Martin.

 

Man's Favorite Short

 

Introduction
by Adrian Martin

"Several Friends" (Charles Burnett, 1969)
by Andy Rector

The Pain of Cinema: "Interior New York Subway" (G. W. Bitzer, 1905)
by Gabe Klinger

 

Improvised Polemic by Derek Malcolm: "LBJ" (Santiago Alvarez, 1968)

Dream Work (Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2001) by Adrian Martin

Short Film Poetry by Jonathan Rosenbaum: "The House Is Black" (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1962) and "When It Rains" (Charles Burnett, 1995)

 


 

The Pain of Cinema:
"Interior New York Subway" (G. W. Bitzer, 1905)
By Gabe Klinger

It was 1905, and yet cinema didn't need to go any further. This must-see by Griffith's cameraman, Billy Bitzer, had everything, and each of its ambitions, each of its flaws, foresaw the entire history of cinema. The film's goal: to propagandize the speediness of the New York subway's route from 14th St. all the way up to Grand Central at 42nd St. The subway achieves this in 6 minutes, and so does the film. A respect for real-time that also purposes towards understanding a space, its mood, and movement. A single uninterrupted shot, determined by the train's trajectory. When it moves, we move. A self-reflexive film, in which the lighting car speeds on the track opposite to us. No attempts are made to hide it, and the flicker it causes on the subway columns remind us of the zoetrope. Ah, the pain of cinema: We must stop, to change the magazine. Continue, at 15fps, at 16, 17; is it five minutes, or really six? The complexity of this manipulation is inadvertent. And then finally we arrive at the station, and there are people, a reward for having come through the grimy tunnel, the darkness; a finale that dances...

Gabe Klinger
© FIPRESCI 2006

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undercurrent

issues

bullet. # 7 (1.2011)
bullet. # 6 (4.2010)
bullet. # 5 (5.2009)
bullet. # 4 (10.2008)
bullet. # 3 (11.2006)
bullet. # 2 (7.2006)
bullet. # 1 (4.2006)

 

issue # 1 4.2006

bullet. Contents
bullet. Marías on Guerín
bullet. Martin on Crowe
bullet. Fujiwara on Tsai
bullet. Klinger on Garrel
bullet. How Critics Work
bullet. Man's Favorite Short
bullet. Amengual Tribute
bullet. Leslie Shatz