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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.

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"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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