A Bronx Morning - Jay Leyda

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Maker: Jay Leyda
Assisted by Leo Hurwitz
Original format: 35mm silent film 1.33:1
New music: Donald Sosin
Courtesy: British Film Institute National Archive

Leyda's first film, shot silent at a time when sound flooded American movie theaters, is a city symphony on an intimate scale, not of a metropolis like Berlin or Moscow but of a New York borough. Leyda's camera affectionately focuses on children, streets, shops, and shoppers. -Robert A. Haller

Jay Leyda was only 20 years old when he filmed his ode to the Bronx. The film pulses with an intelligence normally attributed to a mature artist and not a first-time filmmaker. His approach offers a beautiful moment-to-moment observation of lives once lived one morning in a borough of New York City. -Bruce Posner

In 1929, Jay Leyda (1910-1988) moved from Ohio to New York City to work as an assistant for photographer/filmmaker Ralph Steiner. His short film A Bronx Morning earned Leyda a filmmaking fellowship with Sergei Eisenstein at VGIK in Moscow (1933-36) and led to his editing and translating Eisenstein's major writings. Returning to New York, Leyda worked at The Museum of Modern Art, began a study of D.W. Griffith, and assisted on many late '30s documentaries. Best known for his histories of Soviet and Chinese films, he was also a scholar of Melville, Mussorgsky, and Emily Dickinson. -Aram Boyajian/Robert A. Haller

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