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Directed by Amos Poe, Director of Photography
& Producer Hannah Heer
USA 1981 color 120 minutes
Cast: Susan Tyrrell, Robbie Coltrane, John Lurie, Amos Poe, Cookie
Mueller, Charlene Kaleina, and Bill Rice.
Exclusive Worldwide Rights &
Sales: River Lights Pictures, Inc.
"SUBWAY RIDERS is a chilling melodrama
of angst, alienation and obsession. Poe and his Director of Photography
(and producer) Hannah Heer use color (lurid reds and neon blues)
symbolically and odd camera angles subtly underscore the premise
that the characters are not simply bizarros alienated from society,
but rather that anomie is the definitive characteristic of the modern
world itself. SUBWAY RIDERS' music does
not merely accompany the film, but occupies its own aural space
and so adds its own distinct perspective to this highly stylized,
richly textured portrait of a world of random murders."
-Jeff McLaughlin, The Boston Globe
"SUBWAY RIDERS is an atmospheric
feature, which in its stylized fashion accurately captures the feeling
of big-city anomie today with a nod to the cine-noir approach of
the 1940s." -Lor., Variety
"The most direct attempt to switch off mainstream expectations
I have seen in U.S. alternative cinema occurs in SUBWAY
RIDERS, made by Amos Poe and Johanna Heer in 1981. The opening
sequence shows Poe rejecting an offer to sell his script to Hollywood.
The story then gets ultra-low-budget in look and sound, but also
introduces a color-coded stylization, in which each main character's
mood is shown by tinting the image. This stylization is pushed further
by double casting the main character, a schizophrenic saxophone
player who regularly tries to murder whoever hears him play. Poe
and Heer made a film fully within German Expressionist terms and
at the same time one that has the feeling of documentary realism.
That Poe deliberately disconnected viewer expectations for a normal
movie is part of the reason SUBWAY RIDERS
became a cult classic, especially in Europe.
-- "Technology and film practice: Hollywood and low-budget
alternatives" by Charles Eidsvik, from Jump Cut, no. 36, May
1991, pp. 36-42, 73
Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary
Media, 1991, 2006
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