Downbeat look at the NYC subway

- For anyone who rides the subway five days a week, a two-and-a-half-minute slow-motion film of the system's rusting platforms, filth-caked supports and the expressionless faces of its riders probably appeals very little.

"I just thank God when I get somewhere on time," one man said. "That's it."

But in one night of shooting on the C train, the 19-year-old filmmaker from Toronto who created the aforementioned video captured a soulless underground experience familiar to many in New York City.

"You're not expected to enjoy it," Aidan Tanner said of a journey on the subway.

Tanner paired his video with original music from the artist KRUPA, a friend from high school. The filmmaker hoped to capture a snapshot of humanity by slowing down the city's rush to get from point A to point B.

"Everyone had their own look to them," Tanner said of the human subjects in his video, "but none of them were particularly like happy."

Alone, standing, hands in pockets, slightly slouched, gaze fixed at some indeterminate point forward or below, stare and mind blank: Images of the average commuter while commuting rarely inspire feelings of hope, possibility or motivation.

"Tired, at times. And frustrated," one LIRR passenger said.

"Hoping to get the hell home quick," another man said.

"It's very upsetting and we have no options," a woman waiting for a delayed LIRR train Thursday said.

"I sleep. I play Candy Crush. I read," said another.

The face, or faces, of commuting reflect little of the vibrancy of whichever major metropolitan city they enter and then flee.

"Kind of stresses you out before work," another commuter in Penn Station said, Thursday. "Then you have to deal with work. And then once you leave work, dealing with delays. It just stresses you out overall."

And so, for those for whom public transportation dictates their daily comings and goings, Tanner's film -- while meticulously shot and edited -- probably served as motivation not to stop, look up and observe their surroundings,and instead to continue mindlessly waiting to hurry ahead to happier times and places.

"It just feels really grimy under there," Tanner said of the New York City subway system. "It's this underground world to take you places. And that's kind of like it."
 

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