LOST LANDSCAPES OF NEW YORK (83 mins., HD video transferred from 35mm, 16mm and 8mm film) mixes home movies by New Yorkers, tourists, and semi-professional cinematographers with outtakes from feature films and background “process plates” picturing granular details of New York’s cityscape. The combination of intimate moments, memories from many New York neighborhoods, and a variety of rare cinematic perspectives forms a 21st-century city symphony whose soundtrack changes each time it is shown. Audiences make the soundtrack — they are invited to comment, to ask questions and to interact with one another as the screening unfolds.
Lost Landscapes of New York spans much of the 20th century, covering daily life, work, and celebration, and including street views of the Lower East Side, Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens; a ride from the Bronx to Grand Central in the 1930s; old Penn Station before its demolition; street photographers in Times Square; 1932 Times Square scenes in color; Manhattan’s exuberant neon signage; garment strikes and militant labor parades in the 1930s; Depression-era “Hoovervilles”; crowds at Coney Island; the Third Avenue El; candid shots at the 1939-40 Worlds’ Fair; and much more.
Background on the Lost Landscapes films may be found here: theessayreview.org/essayistic-interventions-taking-the-city-into-the-theater/
A review of this film by Manohla Dargis is here: nytimes.com/2017/11/08/movies/lost-landscapes-of-new-york.html
Rick Prelinger is an archivist, writer, filmmaker and educator. His collection of 60,000 ephemeral films was acquired by Library of Congress in 2002. Beginning in 2000, he partnered with Internet Archive to make a subset of the Prelinger Collection (now 7,000 films) available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. His archival feature Panorama Ephemera (2004) played in venues around the world, and his feature project No More Road Trips? received a Creative Capital grant in 2012. His 21 Lost Landscapes participatory urban history projects have played to many thousands of viewers in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles and elsewhere. He is a board member of Internet Archive and frequently writes and speaks on the future of archives and issues relating to archival access and regeneration. With Megan Shaw Prelinger, he co-founded Prelinger Library in 2004. He is currently Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.