Price: $210.00

    Code: 2350

    Directed by Eva Weber
    2008, 27 Minutes
    Purchase: $210 | Classroom Rental: $95

    Part city symphony, part visual poem, The Solitary Life of Cranes explores the invisible life of a city, its patterns and hidden secrets, seen through the eyes of crane drivers working high above its streets.

    Within the loose structure of a day, starting with the drivers climbing up at dawn and ending with them coming down after a nightshift, the film observes the city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, through the lull of midday and the manic rush in the evening, until it calms down again deep into the night. Throughout the film, the drivers share their thoughts and reflections on the city and life in general.

    From their elevated positions, crane drivers are the unsung chroniclers of our ever-changing metropolis: The bulk of their time is spent waiting, looking, and observing the wind, the weather, and the people down below. From their airy towers, they not only have the best overview of the construction site and some of the most impressive panoramic views of the city but also an unparalleled insight into any of the buildings surrounding them.

    Without cranes our modern cities would be hard to imagine. They dominate our skylines, yet few people ever notice them, and even less so the men and women who operate them. Spending most of their time up in the crane, they become invisible to passers-by, merging with their machines.

    Referencing films like Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City and Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera, as well as scholarly works like Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," this short documentary is a beautiful meditation on how our existence is shaped by our environment and the spaces we inhabit.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Best Short Documentary, Britdoc Film Festival, 2008
    * Winner, Best Documentary, Go Short – International Short Film Festival Nijmeden, 2009
    * Winner, Anthony Minghella Award for Best UK Short, Glimmer – Hull International Short Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Best Short, Oxdox International Film Festival, 2009
    * Official Selection, Silverdocs Film Festival, 2009
    * Official Selection, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, 2009


    “A beautiful and uniquely moving work which deserves watching simply for the joy and wonder of it. Visually stunning… A lovely and rather profound meditation on the mysterious and poetic daily life, rhythm, and drama of cities - in this case, London specifically. It's also about the revelations possible by observing the extraordinary and often obscured details of everyday life from radically different vantage points.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

    “The film did what art should do: it opened your eyes.” - Nick Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)

    “A glimpse into a world unnoticed by most of us, yet fundamental to our lives.” – Filmmaker Magazine

    “Graceful and revealing. Once seen, won’t be forgotten.” - The Observer (UK)

    “Mesmerizing.” - Screen International