The Solitary Life of Cranes

I can’t remember when or why I first started following Geoff Manaugh, but I’m so glad I did. A few days ago, I happened across a post of his called Urban Optimetry, and found myself awed at the lives of crane operators.

Manaugh talks at lenght about a film entitled The Solitary Life of Cranes, by Eva Weber. The descriptions of how some of the crane operators viewed the city were amazing, and made me want to see more:

“Coming down… it’s like coming out of a cloud. You sort of come down it, and it just disappears and then you’re back on normal ground again. You think, ‘Jesus, what a different way of life down here than what it is up there’.”

It’s a really great post, and worth checking out. Manaugh also talks about the famed crane operator Babu Sassi, who purportedly lived atop his crane for a year during the construction on the Burj Khalifa. While it may be more myth than reality, it still makes for a fantastic story.

I was so taken with Manaugh’s original post that I ended up searching for the film. I searched on YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, Amazon – no luck in finding it anywhere, either to stream or rent or purchase.

I ended up writing to the director, asking for more information. Here’s what I found out from Eva Weber herself:

Just to clarify, there are indeed two films – The Solitary Life of Cranes and City of Cranes. The former is more of a city symphony, showing 24 hours in the life of London seen through the eyes of crane drivers, while the latter is made up of four distinct chapters exploring different sides of the life of a driver.

Unfortunately, the films are not currently available on DVD. We used to sell them on our website. I am looking to make them available again at some point in the future but this might take a bit longer. However, I was recently contacted by a few other people, so am looking at making the films available for online download in the meantime.

In terms of updates, Weber suggested liking/following the film’s Facebook page, which I’ve done.

You know how you can sometimes just tell you’re going to love a documentary? I’ve got that feeling. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out how one can go about watching the film. Can’t wait.

A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout
The Overview Effect: Astronauts Discuss the Profound Experience of Seeing Earth From Space
Free Climbing the Shanghai Tower: Helmet Cam Video
A Giant Origami Crane in Logan Square
Sandhill Crane Migration, Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

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