August 17, 2012

Gordon Willis' New York: MANHATTAN

The definitive, the iconic; Manhattan: perhaps the New York movie to end all New York movies. 

Certainly, the Woody Allen/Gordon Willis New York movie to end all Woody Allen/Gordon Willis New York movies. 

Allen's intoxicating love of the street, the architecture, the smells and textures of the city are heralded by Willis'  incredible contrasts, painterly framing, and famously inky, blacker-than blacks. 

The first five minutes of Manhattan contain more poetry than most blockbuster trilogies. Even these selection of stills--caught and cropped out of context, out of time--tell a compelling and timeless story of unrivaled beauty. 

He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion - er, no, make that: he - he romanticized it all out of proportion. - Yes. - To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. - Er, tsch, no, missed out something. - Chapter One. He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles. - No, no, corny, too corny for a man of my taste. Can we ... can we try and make it more profound? - Chapter One. He adored New York City. To him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that caused so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams in ... - no, that's a little bit too preachy. I mean, you know, let's face it, I want to sell some books here. - Chapter One. He adored New York City, although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage ... - Too angry. I don't want to be angry. - Chapter One. He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat. - I love this. - New York was his town, and it always would be ...

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