Stations of the elevated

United States, 1980

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Beginning in the switching yards as they set out on their daily route, Kirchheimer has photographed New Yorks trains as works of art and canvases for the city’s graffiti. As they travel through the decaying urban landscape, they are juxtaposed with advertisements which the filmmaker calls ‘sanctioned vandalism’. Eloquently combines glimpses of faces, billboards and 20th Century artefacts with an urban jazz soundtrack, by Charles Mingus, to create a political film exploring the possibilities of cinema and the visual texture of urban life.

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production company

Streetwise Films


Manfred Kirchheimer



Production places
United States
Production dates

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier


Subject categories

Advertising, Film, Journalism, Mass Media & TV → Advertising

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → City and town life

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → New York (N.Y.)

Communications, Infrastructure, & Transport → Railroad trains

Communications, Infrastructure, & Transport → Railroads

Communications, Infrastructure, & Transport → Railroads - Stations

Communications, Infrastructure, & Transport → Railroads - United States

Crafts & Visual Arts → Graffiti

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → Advertising

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → Advertising photography - Social aspect

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → City and town life


Experimental → Experimental films - United States

Places → New York (N.Y.)

Short films

Short films → Short films - United States






16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=Stations of the elevated |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=5 July 2022 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}