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Manhatta (1921) is a short documentary film which revels in the haze rising from city smoke stacks. With the city as subject, it consists of 65 shots sequenced in a loose non-narrative structure, beginning with a ferry approaching Manhattan and ending with a sunset view from a sky scraper. The primary objective of the film is to explore the relationship between photography and film; camera movement is kept to a minimum, as is incidental motion within each shot. Each frame provides a view of the city that has been carefully arranged into abstract compositions.[1]

It was an attempt to show the film makers' love for the city of New York. Manhatta was a collaboration between painter Charles Sheeler and photographer Paul Strand. The interspersed title cards include excerpts from Walt Whitman.

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress, selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, and was restored for the DVD set Unseen Cinema in October 2005. The film was completely restored in January 2009 by archivist Bruce Posner, working with film restoration company Lowry Digital.[2] Posner spent close to four years returning the film to its original glory.[3]


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