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Free Time, courtesy of the filmmaker


Dream of a City & Free Time

Sunday, Oct 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Dream of a City

Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer. 2018, 39 mins. DCP. The opening movement of Kirchheimer’s recently completed city suite—comprising 2019’s Free Time and 2021’s Up the Lazy River and One More Time—conjures a bygone era from a trove of pristinely preserved footage the filmmaker shot with Walter Hess between 1958 and 1960. Documenting the gradual progress of a high-rise construction site, the film expands meditatively to embrace the thrumming street life and resplendent architectural grandeur of mid-century New York from the waterfront to Hell’s Kitchen. In an alternately harmonious and cacophonous collage, the distancing strains of Bach, Debussy, and Shostakovich play over and under immediate sounds of traffic and heavy industry. As the film moves from urban center to periphery and back again, surreal flights of fancy mingle with sobering doses of reality, finally coalescing in a bittersweet sonata of remembrance.

Free Time

Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer. 2019, 61 mins. DCP. Drifting down to earth from the stately heights of Dream of a City, Kirchheimer again draws on the wealth of material he shot in the late fifties, but this time finds its syncopated rhythm at street level in the quotidian activities of working-class leisure—elderly couples lounging in the sun, gaggles of children playing skully and stickball, a pair of men fumbling a bedspring, or a dancer practicing her steps by a window. Shot in various neighborhoods, including Kirchheimer’s own childhood Washington Heights, the Upper West Side, and Hell’s Kitchen, the film hopscotches across the city from an auto junkyard in Inwood to a cemetery in Queens, laying out a casual beat that’s nonetheless frequently disturbed and darkened by unsettling notes of visual irony and the creeping anxiety of a community threatened by the gleaming promise of “urban renewal.”

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.