For Oscilloscope Laboratories it is a month-long celebration of all things New York City beginning on Oct. 13 with writer/director David Riker’s 1998 film release of La Ciudad (aka: The City) and ending with the Nov. 17 filmmaker Manfred Kirchheimer’s 1981 magical trip across New York City in Stations of the Elevated with music by Charles Mingus.
Midway through this celebration is the Oct. 27 DVD release of documentary filmmaker Charlie Ahearn’s 2013 focus on the life and work of Brooklyn’s famed street photographer Jamel Shabazz. Titled simply Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer, this documentary had a brief arthouse run and arrives on DVD with an ARR of 816 days.
It took six long years for David Riker to complete La Ciudad, his award-winning story about the struggles of Latin American migrants and their attempts to make a go of it in the big city. In these four vignettes — titled “Bricks (Ladrillos),” “Home (Casa),” “The Puppeteer (Titiriero)” and “Seamstress (Costurera)” — we learn that it isn’t always fair and more than a few people are quick to take advantage of the precarious situations in which Riker’s subjects often find themselves.
Bonus features for this new 2K restoration and transfer includes the 28-minute documentary on the marking of La Ciudad, which is titled Cinema from Below, and a newly-prepared video session with filmmaker David Riker and several of the film’s cast members.
Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer explores the decades-long work of famed photographer Jamel Shabazz, which is a blend of history, art, hiphop and cultural statements. Thoughout Shabazz is front and center and a documentarian in his own right on the subjects — and people — that he has explored on the streets of the city.
Bonus features include two new “additions” to Ahearn’s film — “Jamel Shabazz Reflects on His Photos” (filmed in 2014) and “Ahearn Talks Shabazz” (filmed earlier this year) — and outtakes from the film.
Oscilloscope’s homage to New York City concludes on Nov. 17 with filmmaker Manfred Kirchheimer’s 1981 experimental/avant garde “trip” though the city’s seemingly endless maze of subway lines. Stations of the Elevated is a film that is to be enjoyed for its simple, yet earthy visuals — things that New Yorkers see every day and take for granted — all set to the musical interpretations of jazz legend Charles Mingus.
This double-disc special edition release comes packed with bonus goodies. There are four additional short films from Kirchheimer — Colossus on the River, Claw, Short Circuit and Bridge High — which are accompanied by newly-filmed video sessions featuring Kirchheimer commenting on each film, a featurette titled “Writer’s Bench” and the short video titled “A Brief History of Manfred Kirchheimer.”