A pair of New York-based filmmakers marvel in, and just above, the underground

Over at TheAtlantic.com's Video channel, my colleague Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg chats with the filmmakers behind Sub City, a (for now) two-part series that combines the magic of steadicam technology with the glories of modern day transit systems. In Sub City Paris and Sub City New York (both of which you can watch below), Sarah Klein and Tom Mason capture the surreal scenes that can happen at the precise moment when people emerge from the subway. In an interview, Klein and Mason tell The Atlantic about how while they were making the films, they also discovered a few things about the essential nature of their two subjects:

In New York, we'd emerge from this loud, dirty subway to a street full of people, traffic, and movement. As if in that moment, all of the elements of the world were trying to go somewhere at once. It was almost hard to believe that the act of leaving the subway could reveal such beauty in the edit, but it began to make sense to us. This city, like the subway, is so wonderful because of that crazy brew of energy. 

In Paris, the trains are smaller and quieter. As you leave the stations, the iconic Hector Guimard art nouveau arches and shelters are like frames on pieces of art.  We would emerge to find men standing there smoking cigarettes as if they had been already enjoying that scene for hours. It seems like Parisians already know that their city is beautiful, and they're asking you to admire it.

Klein and Mason say they'd like to shoot more films in other cities. Which ones would you like to see? I think I'd vote for Hong Kong.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of L.A.'s vacant Hawthorne Federal Building.
    Equity

    The Trump Administration Wants to Relocate Skid Row to This Federal Building

    Los Angeles homeless providers were rebuffed when they asked to use Cesár Pelli’s Hawthorne Building, which the White House is eyeing to relocate Skid Row residents.

  2. Groups of people look at their phones while sitting in Washington Square Park in Manhattan.
    Life

    How Socially Integrated Is Your City? Ask Twitter.

    Using geotagged tweets, researchers found four types of social connectedness in big U.S. cities, exemplified by New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami.

  3. a photo of a woman on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    Transportation

    In the City That Ride-Hailing Forgot, Change Is Coming

    Fears of congestion and a powerful taxi lobby have long kept ride-hailing apps out of transit-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s about to change.  

  4. Transportation

    When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

    The largest transit agency in the U.S. is building a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station north of Manhattan.

  5. Equity

    What Is Loitering, Really?

    America’s laws against lingering have roots in Medieval and Elizabethan England. Since 1342, the goal has always been to keep anyone “out of place” away.

×