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The tale of the welded manhole cover

Posted at 6:30 PM on March 16, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Melody Gilbert had a lot of adventures while making "Urban Explorers: Into the darkness." For four years she scoured the US and parts of Europe, going out with people who try to find their way into the sewers and abandoned buildings around them, often just because they are there.

There was the time she went out with some folks from the Twin Cities and got stuck. Or as she admitted when she came into the MPR studios, just a part of her got stuck. There's video, but it didn't make it into the documentary.

There is footage of her trip to a dinner party in the catacombs under Paris, complete with diners sitting amongst human bones. And there is a tiny shot of a manhole cover welded shut. It's as close as she was able to get to an underground movie theater that one group of explorers set up and ran for a year under a Paris sidewalk. The police eventually found it, shut it down and brought the welding torch in to finish the job.

Gilbert says she talked to the underground cinephiles, but unlike the many other people in the film decided they didn't want to appear in the doc.

The film screens at the Walker tonight and tomorrow. Gilbert has a TV deal, but is hoping a theatrical release is on the cards too. She says she thinks it just feel right.

You can hear the feature and the interview on the MPR site now.

March 2007
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