The vibe is always deep and the groove is always sweet in Ron Mann’s lovely portrait of a week in the life of luthier Rick Kelly’s eponymous ground floor shop. Here, with help from his 93-year-old mother (and bookkeeper) and young apprentice Cindy Hulej, Kelly builds new guitars out of “the bones of old New York,” i.e. timber discarded from storied spots like the Hotel Chelsea and McSorley’s. A few regular customers—including Lenny Kaye, Bill Frisell, Charlie Sexton, Marc Ribot, and the film’s “instigator,” Jim Jarmusch—drop in along the way for repairs or test runs of Rick’s newest models. Or just to hang out and be with the music. U.S. Premiere
Dream of a City
Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer, USA, 2018, 39m
The 87-year old Manny Kirchheimer, a filmmaker’s filmmaker, has spent decades quietly documenting the life of our city, where he has resided since fleeing Nazi Germany with his family in 1936. Kirchheimer’s films can be placed in the proud tradition of New York–based “impressionistic” nonfiction films like Jay Leyda’s A Bronx Morning and D.A. Pennebaker’s Daybreak Express, but they have a meditative power, tending to the surreal, that is absolutely unique. This astonishing new film, comprised of stunning black and white 16mm images of construction sites and street life and harbor traffic shot by Kirchheimer and his old friend Walter Hess from 1958 to 1960, and set to Shostakovich and Debussy, is like a precious, wayward signal received 60 years after transmission. A Grasshopper Film / Cinema Conservancy Release.