A City Symphony Underground


A City Symphony Underground
Directed by
Catherine Stratton
USA/13 min
Director's Website
'A City Symphony Underground' provides a view of the New York City Subway as never seen before. Blending 1905 footage shot soon after the subway opened, with present day scenes, the film evokes the magical moments that occur daily under New York City's streets.

The film is homage to the “City Symphony” genre of the 1920s/1930s. These films didn't follow the traditional documentary narrative approach, but sought to catch 'life unawares' within the shifting moods of public places. 'A City Symphony Underground' attempts to do this under NYC's streets.

The Subway is the spine of the film, which viewers get to know through a journey that starts uptown on the first subway line to open to the public in 1904 and ends at the abandoned City Hall subway stop. Originally hailed the 'Crown Jewel' of the Subway System, the City Hall stop has been closed to the public since 1945.

With neither narration nor dialog, this ‘musical 'tone poem' offers a movable feast of images and sounds, arranged as a backdrop for little slices of life.The hustle bustle of commuters entering and exiting trains mingles with flashes of uniquely human moments only noticed if one stops to look.

In this way, the Subway is a metaphor for life; a journey suffused with little dramas. People come and go both on the Subway and in life as did the people in the 1904 footage, running for the train at Grand Central; so alive on film yet long gone from this world.
A City Symphony Underground is the first film that Catherine entirely conceived, directed, shot and edited. Catherine has worked on a number of productions but specializes in creating short films. Her clients include artists, creative entities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits. In 2010 she completed production on videos for the World Wide Orphans’ Foundation following a trip she made to Haiti, 2 months after last year’s earthquake, to film WWO founder, Dr. Jane Aronson, as she traveled to orphanages across the country. Catherine is currently working on her second film, A City Symphony Squared, which features another New York City icon: Times Square. For more information about Catherine go to http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathstratton.

Screening Date:
March 26th, 3pm

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