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. The Cincinnati skyline and river
    Life

    Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

    “The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

  2. A crowded street outside in Boston
    Life

    Surveillance Cameras Debunk the Bystander Effect

    A new study uses camera footage to track the frequency of bystander intervention in heated incidents in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England.                            

  3. A migrant laborer rides a bicycle past a residential community in Shanghai.
    Equity

    When Affordable Housing in Shanghai Is a Bed in the Kitchen

    In this sector of the city’s informal housing rental market, as many as 24 people can be crammed into a three-bedroom apartment.

  4. Design

    A Hated Expansion of Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Will Go Ahead

    The city council voted to approve an addition to the historic landmark over criticism that the design is “a travesty” and “frankly grotesque.”

  5. Design

    A First-Rate Waterfront Park Is Transforming a Historic Greek City

    Thessaloniki’s New Waterfront is the centerpiece in an effort to transform the local economy, and other cities are taking notice.

×