N.Y., N.Y. - Francis Thompson

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Complete title: N.Y., N.Y. A Day in New York
Maker: Francis Thompson. Assisted by D.A. Pennebaker
Original format: 16mm sound film 1.37:1 blown up to 35mm
Preserved and restored in 2004 by Bruce Posner and Anthology Film Archives at Cineric, Inc., Trackwise and DuArt from 16mm camera originals and 35mm composite prints provided by Francis Thompson.
Music Gene Forrell
Courtesy: Francis Thompson, Gene Forrell, Museum of Modern Art, Jonas Mekas

Eight years in the making, Francis Thompson created an abstract riff on NYC that's "a touch Cubist and a touch Dadaist." Although immediately cited by Aldous Huxley as new form of visionary art," the film originals sat under Francis" bed for nearly 30 years. Prismatic and distorted, Thompson shot the vibrant fractured images with a Kodak Ciné-Special camera specially rigged with "secret" mirrors, kaleidoscopes and even reflective car hubcaps. His objective was to create "a complete and carefully integrated film using precisely controlled camera distortion in a dramatically unfolding structure." The experience remains an exquisite time capsule that not only documents Manhattan during the 1950s but also, in the words of The New York Times, proffers "one of the few genuine masterpieces: of the burgeoning experimental film movement in the United States. -Bruce Posner

N.Y., N.Y., a success that led him to continue to experiment with World's Fair and Expo multiple screen films and later with large format films. In collaboration with Alexander Hammid, Thompson made the Academy Award winning film To Be Alive! (1962-64) and the first IMAX film To Fly (1976). Thompson considered N.Y., N.Y. to be his most significant achievement in cinema. -Bruce Posner

Gene Forrell's (1915-2005) syncopated jazz inspired scores graced many mid-20th century specialty films including the award-winning shorts Boundary Lines (1947), N.Y., N.Y. (1957) and To Be Alive (1964). Accomplished as an orchestral composer for theater, dance, television and films, he conducted many international orchestras. -Bruce Posner

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