Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


In A, B, C...Manhattan, filmmaker Amir Naderi turns his humane gaze onto the neighborhood he made his new home eleven years ago, Manhattan’s Lower East Side. A, B, C...Manhattan is the second in a trilogy and continues his exploration of the fluid relationship between personal identity and physical environment begun with the remarkable films made in his native Iran. The result is a poetic homage that refuses to romanticize, instead embracing the harsher elements of life along the margins of the city with unvarnished realism.

Taking place entirely during one winter day, A, B, C...Manhattan follows three women enmeshed in this world. Kacey, dressed punk-rocker style in orange hair and metallic leather, has lost her boyfriend, her girlfriend, and now her dog. Colleen, her roommate, is a photographer who is giving up custody of her young daughter Stella so she can have a better life. Kate is leaving the safety zone of life with her high school boyfriend to pursue her music career. On the day when Colleen must part with her daughter, their three worlds slowly begin to converge emotionally.

Naderi subverts traditional narrative to capture the inner transformations of these three as they fight for emotional survival. Colleen, Kacey, and Kate must dissolve old bonds, forge new ones, and carve out identities and desires against the intimidating city landscape. Long, studied traveling shots capture not just the action and landscapes but the intimate details and internal rhythms of these three lives. With a distinguishing intensity, Naderi has created a powerful story of love and loss, hope and survival.

— Lisanne Skyler

Screening Details

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