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The Manhattan Front

November 13, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


November 6th – The Manhattan Front

The Manhattan Front is Cathy Lee Crane’s debut feature-length fiction film concerned with an over-looked chapter of American history.

Its core impulse for the director came from a very personal question: “Who might my maternal great-grandmother have been?” Women, anarchists, and spies conjure the fantastically true story of how America entered WW1.

“Cathy Lee Crane is one the most interesting filmmakers in the tradition of the avant-garde working in the United States today. Her films succeed in developing within a feminist perspective a very personal poetics. This film’s narrative complexity is based on the absurdities of the world as it is. The pastiche of early color techniques is the most successful I have ever seen. I would say this is Crane’s masterpiece.”

– NOËL BURCH, co-director with Thom Anderson of Red Hollywoodand co-director with Allan Sekula of The Forgotten Space

“She is our feminist Godard”

– BARBARA HAMMER, lesbian film pioneer


Once upon a time, in 1915, a German saboteur arrived to Manhattan to interrupt the export of American munitions to Britain. He soon finds a collaborator in a wayward stevedore who unwittingly leads him to a group of labor anarchists. Sabotage and betrayal soon turn these bedfellows into agents of the other’s tragic end. In the spirit of a silent film from the era, this musical melodrama plays itself out through the interaction of archival images and the theatrical rendition of lives as they might have been lived on The Manhattan Front.


Cathy Lee CRANE has been charting a speculative history on film since 1994. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her award-winning films (which include the experimental biographies Pasolini’s Last Words and Unoccupied Zone: The Impossible Life of Simone Weil) have screened at the Viennale, San Francisco International Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Cinematheque Francais, BFI, and Arsenal/Berlin. Her body of work received its first survey in 2015 as part of the American Original Now series at the National Gallery of Art.


November 13, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Stray Cat Film Center


Stray Cat Film Center
1662 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64108 United States
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