Support provided in part by the Union Square Awards, a project of the Tides Center,
The New York State Council on the Arts,
and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
A quarterly program highlighting challenging, controversial, and thought-provoking new documentary films of outstanding artistic merit. The series offers a unique opportunity for audience members to discuss the films with each other and with the films' creators in a community setting. Curated by Livia Bloom. Twitter: @docsinbloom
The box office is open for advance ticket purchases Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 12 - 6 pm, and one hour before the start of all events until they end. If the door is locked during these hours, knock on the store front window. Ticket-holders arriving 15 minutes beforeshowtime are guaranteed a seat inside the theater. Overflow seating available for sold out shows.
Tickets $10 suggested donation, unless otherwise noted. Members only: Reserve your seat at [email protected] Become a member>
Our Cinema and one of our restrooms are handicap accessible. Feel free to call the Box Office at (212) 537-6843 if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Price of Gold
Sven Zellner, 2012, 86 mins
Gold: today’s most popular investment product. This astounding film is the first to document the illegal gold-diggers in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert risking their lives for a few grams of the precious mineral. While the speculative market value of gold in the Western world holds little relation to any tangible yardstick, the film describes in very direct and stark images what it means to prospect for gold by hand, in brutal conditions eerily reminiscent of the California Gold Rush during the late 19th- century. In amazingly intimate shots, Sven Zellner shows us the people at the other end of the world who pay the real price of gold.
“The setting is the Gobi Desert, a barren, golden landscape where desperate Mongolian nomads, known as “ninjas,” search for leftover gold veins that the giant international mining companies might have overlooked when they swept through the area years ago. The equipment is crude. The language is foul. They treat women (there is one female cook) like chattel, and each other like dirt. Sven Zellner, an accomplished photographer, spent years earning the trust of this scrappy group, which he follows into the claustrophobic shafts and the cramped quarters of the makeshift tent. His cinematography is breathtaking, and he drives home the inherent dangers of this illegal trade.” —Gayle MacDonald, The Globe and Mail
DOCUMENTARY IN BLOOM - PAST SCREENINGS:
Nov. 12 -
13 7:30 pm
Good Hair Dir. Jeff Stilson, 2009, 95 min. Good Hair seeks to explore some of the aspects of African American hair and hair care. According to Chris Rock, he was prompted to produce the movie after his 5-year old daughter, Lola, asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?" During his quest for knowledge, Chris Rock delves into the $9 billion black hair industry, and visits such places as beauty salons, barbershops, conventions, scientific laboratories (to learn the science behind chemical relaxers that straighten hair), and India, where many of the hair weaves worn by African American women are from. Special thanks to Meghann Burns and Roadside Attractions.
Preceded by: Me Broni Ba Dir. Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2008, 22 min. Me Broni Ba is a lyrical portrait of hair salons in Kumasi, Ghana. The tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa is evoked through images of women practicing hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the West. The film unfolds through a series of vignettes, set against a child's story of migrating from Ghana to the United States. The film uncovers the meaning behind the Akan term of endearment, me broni ba, which means "my white baby."
- November 12 and 13: Discussions with Good Hair producer/writer Nelson George and Me Broni Ba director Akosua Adoma Owusu.
Me Broni Ba
Paradise Michael Almereyda, 2009, 122 min. USA Harlem Premiere Michael Almereyda's Paradise is an audacious and profound collage of seemingly unrelated scenes of life around the world, from New York to New Orleans, from Korea to Iran. "Michael Almereyda's Paradise is essentially a series of home movies, but home movies of a very high order. Paradise comprises 44 discrete scenes culled from digital video footage that director Michael Almereyda shot over the course of ten years during which he nearly always carried a camera with him. Aside from music at the beginning and end, only ambient sounds and voices are heard. Although it lacks most of the usual devices that indicate a director's point of view, it's hard to imagine a more personal film." -Mike Hale, The New York Times "Glorious fragments forming a breathtaking whole" -Robert Koehler, Variety
- December 5 and 12: Discussions with director Michael Almereyda.
Jan. 12-16, 18
at 7:30 pm & Jan 17 at 5:00 pm
My Neighbor, My Killer Dir. Anne Aghion, 2009, 80min. USA/France/Rwanda U.S. Theatrical Premiere Could you ever forgive the people who slaughtered your family? In 1994, Rwanda's Hutu populace was incited to wipe out the country's Tutsi minority, with 800,000 lives claimed in 100 days.. In 1999, the government began the Gacaca—open-air hearings with citizen-judges meant to try their neighbors and rebuild the nation. Through their fear and anger, accusations and defenses, blurry truths, inconsolable sadness and hope for life renewed, follow this emotional journey to co-existence. Winner of the Human Rights Watch 2009 Nestor Almendros Prize for courage in filmmaking and an Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, this stunning documentary was ten years in the making. Film website> "Striking, remarkable, and quietly devastating" -Kenneth Turan, LA Times "Restrained and ethically nuanced" -Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times "This remarkable documentary about the Gacaca community tribunals is the most calmly moving guide yet to the emotional landscape of those who were left behind," -Lee Marshall, Screen Magazine
January 12, 14, 15, 16, 18: Discussions with director Anne Aghion.
Mar. 10 - 12
at 7:30 pm
at 5:00 pm
Mar 14 - 15
at 3:30 pm
Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi Directed, photographed, and edited by Ian Olds, 2009, 84 min. USA/Afghanistan U.S. Theatrical Premiere Fixer is a harrowing film that follows Ajmal, a 24-year-old Afghan man who "fixes" meetings for foreign journalists with high-ranking members of the Taliban.
"I bring one enemy to meet another," Ajmal explains in the film. When he was kidnapped along with an Italian reporter in 2007, their situation quickly goes from bad to worse. Fixer uses vivid interviews, a tumultous editing style and a variety of sources of digital footage--including contemporary video released by the Taliban--to tell the story of a man caught in the crossfire of the perilous conflict in Afghanistan. Fixer had its world premiere at the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam. In the U.S., it premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, where Olds won the award for Best New Documentary Filmmaker. Fixer also won the First Prize of the Jury at Documenta Madrid; the University Jury Prize at Pesaro, Italy; and was an official selection at more than 20 international film festivals. *New York Times Critic's Pick!* As unsettling and complex as the country it traverses, Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, Ian Olds's stunning documentary is a deeply disorienting film propelled by a jagged anxiety that permeates every image and interview -Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
The best documentary I've seen on Afghanistan--so good it's hard to imagine a better one. All jagged edges, blurs, and disconnects -Ann Jones, The Huffington Post
March 12 and 13: Discussion with Christian Parenti, The Nation journalist and Fixer field producer.
May 12 - 14
at 7:30 pm
The Philosopher Kings Dir. Patrick Shen, 2009, 70 min. USA Harlem Premiere "If you can't keep the house of God clean, you can't keep no house clean."
In search of wisdom found in unlikely places, The Philosopher Kings travels the halls of prestigious colleges and universities across America to learn from the staff members who see it all and have been through it all: the janitors. This thought-provoking, feature-length documentary weaves together the untold stories of triumph and tragedy from the members of society who are often disregarded and ignored, and seeks out the kind of wisdom that gets them through the day. Website >
"Moved me to tears" -Jay Youngdahl, East Bay Express “A supremely designed, fluent and delicately shot film that is everything that you don't expect, and nothing that you do.” -David Day, The Boston Weekly Dig
“A hypnotic, moving paean to the complex lives of its subjects. The visuals are crisp, and Shen's seamless editing creates conversation between his various subjects, as the spoken musing of one plays over the images of another. Kings arcs hard toward its uplifting ending, but it also completely earns it” -Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly
July 14 - 16
at 6:00 pm
ON BEAUTY: THREE RARE SCREENINGS
DAISY: THE STORY OF A FACELIFT / FAROCKI'S AN IMAGE / YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN "A fascinating program comprised of three rarely shown films all dealing with plastic surgery and the construction of beauty. Definitely recommended." -Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
Daisy: The Story of a Facelift Dir. Michael Rubbo, 1982, 58 min. Canada NY Premiere Middle-aged Daisy shares her decisions, doubts, and stomach-turning medical procedure in this rare featurette from the earliest days of cosmetic surgery.
An Image Dir. Harun Farocki, 1982, 26 min. Germany NY Premiere A Playboy Magazine centerfold photo-shoot in Munich was documented by celebrated international artist Harun Farocki in this very rarely-seen short film.
Youth Knows No Pain Dir. Mitch McCabe, 2009, 88 min. USA Harlem Premiere "Since my own dad was a plastic surgeon, as a child I would find birthday cards from friends with breasts on them, before-and-after slides of patients, and the occasional implant lying around," says Mitch McCabe in her candid new documentary. Printable flyer: JPEGPDF "Youth Knows No Pain subjects America's anti-aging obsession to an intimate, often unflattering close-up, and with an appreciable lack of vanity, director Mitch McCabe also holds up her own face--lines, imperfections and all--for the camera's scrutiny. McCabe's unique perspective as a plastic surgeon's daughter informs this lively, candid and thoughtful piece, which avoids the fashionable alarmism of so many social-issue docs as it weighs the costs and benefits of wrinkle creams, breast implants and Botox injections and allows viewers to decide for themselves." -Justin Chang, Variety
July 14-16: Discussion with director Mitch McCabe.
Daisy: The Story of a Facelift
Youth Knows No Pain
Sept 10 - 12
The Battle of Chile Marathon Often discussed but little-seen, three rare marathon screenings of the legendary documentary by Patricio Guzmán, The Battle of Chile, will take place for September 11, the anniversary of the Chilean military coup. A landmark in documentary history, this remarkable film brings viewers into the Chilean political conflict. The film, narrated by the director, includes one of cinema's most famous shots: a cameraman who captures his own murder on film.
Special thanks to Jonathan Miller and Icarus Films.
Part I: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie Dir. Patricio Guzmán, 1975, 96 mins, Chile/France/Cuba The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the left's unexpected victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973. Finding that democracy would not stop Allende's socialist policies, the right-wing shifted its tactics from the polls to the streets. The film follows months of activity as a variety of increasingly violent tactics are used by the right to weaken the government and provoke a crisis.
Part II: The Coup d'Etat Dir. Patricio Guzmán, 1976, 88 min, Chile/France/Cuba The Coup d'Etat opens with the attempted military coup of June, 1973 which is put down by troops loyal to the government. The final showdown, everyone now realizes, is coming. The film shows a left divided over strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the military seizure of power. The film's dramatic concluding sequence documents the coup d'etat, including Allende's last radio messages to the people of Chile, footage of the military assault on the presidential palace, and that evening's televised presentation of the new military junta.
Part III: The Power of the People Dir. Patricio Guzmán, 1978, 78 mins, Chile/France/Cuba The Power of the People deals with the creation by ordinary workers and peasants of thousands of local groups of "popular power" to distribute food, occupy, guard and run factories and farms, oppose black market profiteering, and link together neighborhood social service organizations. First these local groups of "popular power" acted as a defense against strikes and lock-outs by factory owners, tradesmen and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right.
"No new Hollywood film on conspiracies or murders can reach the level of suspense that these images create" -Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle, 1977
"A capital testimony. To be watched so as to never forget" -Nouvel Observateur, Parigi 1977
"In the running for the most riveting and vital historical document ever put on celluloid, Patricio Guzmán's 1975–78 guerrilla epic The Battle of Chile, given three marathon screenings at the Maysles, is an unembedded, unfiltered political grenade that explodes anew this election season" - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
"Remarkable and electifying!" -Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal
Screenings introduced by Chilean artist and musician Christian Torres-Roje.
Feb. 14 - 20
Port of Memory Dir. Kamal Aljafari, 2009, 71 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere In this art-world hit, director Kamal Aljafari turns his camera inward: on his Palestinian family and the details of their lives in Israel; on Jaffa and Ramle, the cities of his youth; and on the decaying architecture that is the silent battleground for Israeli and Palestinian social and cultural conflict and the site of his childhood. Aljafari begins his exploration in Ramle with a lyrical split-screen study of the bare structural bones of innumerable terraces and porticos that once overlooked the city in the short work Balconies, a prologue to Port of Memory. He
then moves across Jaffa in the midst of gentrification, studying the
faces of his family as they brace themselves in the face of the
harrowing specter of losing their family home. Aljafari deftly
integrates fictional cinematic techniques reminiscent of Antonioni and
Bresson into vivid, emotional, and contemporary documentary.
"Radically poetic" -The Museum of Modern Art
"A vivid, oblique demi-documentary made with a Chris Marker-ian eye" -Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
"A different set of facts, a different kind of facts" -Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Filmmaker Magazine
"Haunting, complex portraits that astutely balance fiction and nonfiction... cinematic poetry" -Harvard Film Archive
Preceded by: The Day Was a Scorcher Dir. Ken Jacobs, 2009, 8 min. USA U.S. Theatrical Premiere
In this remarkable stroboscopic work, New York City avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs takes a dynamic approach to the notion of documentary. The director animates photographs of his wife and children taken on a trip to Rome in the 1970s, re-visiting and re-living the past in a distinctly modern way.
"Magical!" -Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice Printable flyer: JPEGPDF
February 18-19: Discussion with Port of Memory director Kamal Aljafari. Sugar Hill Ale reception follows the February 18 screening.
The Day Was a Scorcher
Port of Memory
Apr. 8 - 14
Kati with an I Dir. Robert Greene, 2010, 86 min. USA U.S. Theatrical Premiere
A captivating, vibrant portrait of popular Alabama high school senior Kati Genthner, filmed by her half-brother, reveals fights with her parents and romance with her sweetheart as she teeters on the brink of adulthood. As Kati prepares for her graduation day, viewers are invited to witness the intimate details of her life--from a coed pool party to a trip to the mall with her boyfriend, singing their favorite romantic song at the top of their lungs. It's all as wholesome and happy as apple pie... or is it?
Preceded by: The Third Body Dir. Peggy Ahwesh. 2010, 9 min. USA U.S. Theatrical Premiere
A hallucinogenic religious film is stitched together with early computer generated NASA video from 1980s virtual-reality tours in Peggy Ahwesh's inspired juxtaposition of the mysterious realms of faith and science.
"Critic's Pick! Robert Greene's endearing documentary [finds] virtue in vagueness and significance in the everyday" - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
"Critic's Pick! This beguiling, intimate documentary...takes the ordinary and makes something uniquely cinematic out of it, thanks to Greene's welcome flair for the poetic."
- NY Magazine "There's a strange and probably impossible purity to Kati with an I...Impossible because it's a contemporary story about young love that doesn't display or refer to any text messages or emails or Facebook, because it makes a Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song sort of make you want to cry, and because its central tension feels so profoundly earnest..."
- Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine
"As part of curator Livia Bloom's bimonthly series devoted to new documentaries, Kati With an I, by New York filmmaker Robert Greene, gets a weeklong run, with bittersweet glimpses of a young life in transition that owes little to polished MTV realities." - Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal
"With a following built on the fest circuit, pic's weeklong run, starting Friday at New York's Maysles Cinema, could kick-start a grassroots national tour." - Robert Koehler, Variety
"Alluring, poetic...Among the best performances of the year"- Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
"Robert Greene's lingering, lyrical film is an indelibly pure portrayal of contemporary young love that could have been made by Gus Van Sant" - Christopher Gray, The Boston Phoenix "A revelation, lush and sensuous" - Pamela Cohn, Hammer to Nail
"9/10 stars! - Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
April 8 and 9: Discussion with Kati with an I director Robert Greene.
April 11: Discussion with Kati with an I producers Susan Bedusa, Douglas Tirola, and Sean Price Williams, who also co-photographed the film.
Kati with an I
The Third Body
June 13 - 19*
The Lips (aka Los labios) Dir. Iván Fund and Santiago Loza, 2010, 100 min. Argentina U.S. Theatrical Premiere
Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, a prize shared by the film's three leads, this subtle and challenging mix of documentary and narrative filmmaking follows three women who deeply inhabit their cinematic roles as social workers interacting with members of an impoverished rural Argentine community. Facing desperate poverty that threatens to overwhelm even the greatest reserves of calm, humor, and empathy, the trio moves into makeshift living quarters and records data on the needs of the community, while still taking time for an occasional night out. Thanks to Carlos Gutierrez. Co-sponsored by Cinema Tropical.
Local New York City filmmakers True and Walker achieved unprecedented access to a
community of Tibetan nomads, working closely with their subjects and co-director Tsering Perlo
to create the remarkable cinematic meditation Summer Pasture. It is increasingly
difficult for many Tibetan nomads to maintain their way of life. Rigid government policies,
rangeland degradation, and the allure of modern convenience and culture have prompted many
once nomadic families to settle permanently in towns and cities. Summer Pasture chronicles one
young family during a season of change and uncertainty as they face these decisions. Husband
Locho, wife Yama, and their infant daughter, Jiatomah, spend the summer in eastern Tibet's
Zachukha grasslands. It's an area known as Wu-Zui or "5-Most," the highest, coldest, poorest,
largest, and most remote county in Sichuan Province, China. In this gentle film, which involved
the subjects in their own cinematic portrait, traditional life confronts rapid modernization onscreen.
Preceded by: Dreams of the Divine: A Trilogy Dir. Olivia Wyatt, 2011, 27 min. World Premiere
This powerful short work documents a religious ceremony of the Celestial Church of Christ on Rockaway Beach; a hipster drum performance by the all-girl drum corps Chica Vas in Manhattan; and a Haitian vodou ritual honoring the Ghede family of spirits in Brooklyn. Wyatt's fluid, mobile camerawork and dexterous editing offers an insider's view of three New York City communities pulsing with life and conviction.
* Thursday, August 18: Skype discussion with Summer Pasture directors Lynn True and Nelson Walker, moderated by Sara Maysles.
* Friday, August 19: Discussion with Dreams of the Divine: A Trilogy director Olivia Wyatt, moderated by Anthony Sweeney.
Dreams of the Divine
Oct. 10 - 16, at 7:30 pm
Two Films by John Akomfrah In conjunction with the theatrical premiere of John Akomfrah's The Nine Muses (2011) at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Maysles Cinema presents the U.S. theatrical premiere of two foundational films by the British-Ghanaian pioneer filmmaker.
Seven Songs for Malcolm X Dir. John Akomfrah, produced by the Black Audio Film Collective, 1993, 52 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
An homage to the inspirational African-American civil rights leader, Seven Songs for Malcolm X collects testimonies, eyewitness accounts and dramatic reenactments to tell the life, legacy, loves, and losses of Malcolm X. Featuring interviews with Malcolm's widow Betty Shabazz, Spike Lee, and many other, Seven Songs looks for the meaning behind the resurgence of interest in the man whose X always stood for the unknown.
The Last Angel of History
Dir. John Akomfrah, 1996, 45 min.
U.S. Theatrical Premiere
An examination of the relationships between Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and computer technology, this Afrofuturist cinematic essay posits science fiction--from alien abduction to genetic engineering--as a metaphor for the Pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation, and otherness. Akomfrah's analysis is rooted in an exploration of the works of artists such as funkmaster George Clinton and his Mothership Connection, Sun Ra's use of extraterrestrial iconography, and the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler. In keeping with the futuristic tenor of the film, images of Pan-African life from different periods of history are intercut with interviews with leading black cultural figures, including DJ Spooky, musician Derek May, astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols, novelist Ismael Reed, and cultural critics Greg Tate and Kodwo Eshun as the film jumps through time and space, and from the past, though the future, and into the present.
Seven Songs for Malcolm X
Last Angel of History
Dec. 12 - 18
Elsa la Rose Dir. Agnès Varda and Raymond Zanchi 1965, 20 mins. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
This cinematic valentine, narrated by Michel Piccoli and photographed in luminous black-and-white by Willy Kurant and William Lubtchansky, documents the romance between celebrated writers Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet.
Daguerréotypes Dir. Agnès Varda, 1975, 75 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
An essential film in Agnès Varda's oeuvre, this classic documentary makes its US theatrical premiere in this week-long engagement at the Maysles Cinema. Daguerréotypes is a portrait of the small shops and shopkeepers on the Rue Daguerre, a picturesque street in Paris' 14th Arrondissement that has been the filmmaker's home for more than 50 years. The title is also a pun, referring to the early photographic process of printing on silver-plated copper that was developed by Louis Daguerre in the early 19th-century. As in her films The Beaches of Agnès and The Gleaners and I, Varda, who narrates the film, gently opens up a fantastic world in microcosm. One by one, viewers meet her shopkeeper neighbors--the butcher, the grocer, the barber and their families--both in their own domains and then at a daring magic show.
Praise for Daguerréotypes:
"Daguerréotypes is required viewing for any Varda fan (really, for any serious student of cinema), and the opportunity to see it in a theater with an audience of other cinephiles should not be missed. Honestly, if I hadn't just made a trip to NYC last month, I would seriously consider a weekend trip out there for the sole reason of attending a screening. That's how much I love this film" - Kim Voynar, Movie City News
"Livia Bloom's Documentary in Bloom series at the Maysles Cinema usually introduces new nonfiction films, but it has something a little different in store for December: the U.S. theatrical release of a thirty-six-year-old French work. It’s hard to believe that Daguerréotypes, Agnès Varda's absolutely charming look at her longtime Parisian community, has never had a theatrical run in America, so it is exciting that her wonderful little tale is finally being shown on the big screen." Three and a half (out of four) stars review in This Week in New York
"Varda is a brilliant filmmaker, and Daguerréotypes is a magnificent documentary." (Five stars review) - Jennifer Merin, About.com
"Agnès Varda's vérité documentary Daguerréotypes has aged splendidly, acquiring flavors that would've been inconceivable at the time it was made." - The Onion: A.V. Club
"Daguerréotypes is pleasant slice of cinema that shows a curious, confident artist [Agnes Varda] perfecting her craft, not just as a talented feature filmmaker, but also as an ethnographer who makes the voyage some fifty yards from her front door in order to redefine Paris" - Cinespect
"If the French are saving time capsules, this movie is a must for inclusion" - Trust Movies
Maria Garcia's excellent review of Daguerréotypes in Film Journal
"A portrait of an antique world that digs deep beneath its surface" - Slant Magazine
Talking Landscape: Early Media Work, 1974-1984 (2012) Dir. Andrea Callard, 2012, 80 min. World Premiere
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith, Christy Rupp and Jack Smith were among the artists who filled a ex-massage parlor with artwork from top to bottom for The Times Square Show, a legendary exhibit co-organized by Andrea Callard as part of the 1970s powerhouse collective Colab. (Keith Haring even painted the air conditioner). Callard, whose own work will not long remain one of New York's best-kept secrets, includes her never-before-seen documentation of that event in Talking Landscape, her first feature film. This compendium of short pieces (including 11 thru 12, Fluorescent/Azalea, Flora Funera (for Battery Park City) and Lost Show Blues) here making its world premiere, was culled from a decade of her playful and strikingly innovative cinematic experiments. Dry wit and personal perception infuse Callard's colorful, existential documentary interventions. Whether climbing a seemingly endless series of ladders in her downtown loft apartment; creating quirky, private games to play with the camera; or ruminating on the clover, Ailanthus trees, and azalea bushes sneakily colonizing New York's parks and vacant lots, she casts a thoroughly original gaze on the city around her. Callard even visits New York's U.S. Customs House, now the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, though a series of ten hand-colored print collages overlaid with text.
Q&A discussion with director Andrea Callard, moderated by curator Livia Bloom, will follow the screenings on Thursday, February 16, and Saturday, February 18.
Callard's original prints will be on exhibit at The Maysles Cinema from February 1-March 1, 2012.
16th - 22nd
Oki's Movie Dir. Hong Sang-soo, 2010, 80 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
Documentary filmmaking is the secret star of the elegant narrative film Oki's Movie, a quartet of interlocking vignettes by Korean auteur director Hong Sang-soo and one of the most important films in his oeuvre. An official selection of the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, Oki's Movie follows a young woman as she hikes Seoul's Mount Acha twice, a year apart, accompanied by different boyfriends: first a fellow student, then a professor. She documents the trips and then edits together corresponding locations on the mountain: the parking lot, a small pavilion, a wooden bridge; her juxtapositions are revelatory, both of her relationship with each and of the power of cinema. "Magnificent—and also magnificently constructed," writes Richard Brody of Oki's Movie in The New Yorker. "[Hong sang-soo is] a true and rare artist."
11th - 17th
Tahrir: Liberation Square
Dir. Stefano Savona, 2011, 90 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
In one of the most powerful documentaries to emerge from the Arab Spring, archaeologist Stefano Savona carries viewers beyond the headlines and into the heart of the popular Egyptian revolution that overthrew President Mubarak and touched off revolutions throughout the Middle East: Tahrir Square. Captured with only a small digital camera and sound recorder, his portrait of the seething, chanting crowds and electric protest speeches is anchored by fluid exchanges with a handful of individual protesters. A highlight of the New York and Locarno Film Festivals, Tahrir: Liberation Square documents history in the making.
"The editing by Penelope Bortoluzzi is particularly effective at capturing the quicksilver changes of emotion—from jubilation to anger to despair to hopefulness" - Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, June 6, 2012
"[This] stirringly in-your-face documentary about the Arab Spring revolution is a priceless historical, human document." - David Noh, Film Journal, June 11, 2012
"Tahrir: Liberation Square had its official premiere scarcely six months later at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. That makes it a hot document as far as movies go, recording events with ramifications yet unknown to Egyptians or the rest of the world." - Nicholas Rapold, New York Times, June 10, 2012
The Chilean Building
Dir. Macarena Aguiló, 2010, 99 min.
U.S. Theatrical Premiere It's a story never before documented: While their parents battled the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, a group of children were raised, first in Europe and then in Cuba, safely and communally. The 20 adults who supervised "Project Home" saw over sixty children through to adulthood, children whose mothers and fathers—members of the leftist organization Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR)—fought in their homeland to fight for freedom, many never to be seen again. For the men and women in The Chilean Building, patriotic duty took another form—childcare rather than warfare; these adoptive, communal parents assumed responsibility for their charges for years to come. In this remarkable documentary, director Macarena Aguiló, herself a product of Project Home, provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes examination of a grand and surprising social and political experiment. Winner of Best Documentary, 2011 New York International Latino Film Festival
at 7:30 pm
One Week Run!
In My Mother's Arms
Dir. Atia and Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, 2011, 82 min.
U.S. Theatrical Premiere
An desperate phone call requesting donations for a makeshift Iraqi orphanage first brought filmmaking brothers Atia and Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji to a two-bedroom house in the notoriously dangerous Baghdad neighborhood of in Al-Sadr. Husham, an unlikely hero working tirelessly without state support to shelter and protect more than thirty children, had been given two weeks to vacate the premises and had neither money nor resources at his disposal. The children in his care are in dire straits: Saif can't remember anything about his dead mother but her name; Mohammed struggles to balance school life with his search for self-identity; and Salah, who is too traumatized to speak, fears he may never be able to go to school. An acclaimed selection of the Toronto, Abu Dhabi and CPH:DOX film festivals, In My Mother's Arms is a powerful reminder that the battlefield is only one of many places one can find the victims of war.
at 7:30 pm
One Week Run!
The Loving Story *2013 Peabody Award Winner* Dir. Nancy Buirski, 2011, 77 min. U.S. Theatrical Premiere
This Oscar-shortlisted film is the definitive account of the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage: Loving v. Virginia. Married in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1958, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter returned home to Virginia where their marriage was declared illegal—he was white, and she was black and Native American. Hope Ryden's luminous, newly discovered home movie footage of the Lovings and their feisty young lawyers and rare photography by Grey Villet are stitched together in the debut feature by Full Frame Documentary Film Festival founder Nancy Buirski in a film that takes viewers behind the scenes of a pair of unlikely civil rights pioneers and their real-life love story.
* On Friday, December 14th, director Nancy Buirski will participate in a post-film discussion with series curator Livia Bloom. Reception.
* The Sunday, December 16th, screening is sponsored by Racialicious.com and the evening will include a post-film audience led discussion with Racialicious.com's Andrea Plaid.
Photos by Grey Villet
at 7:30 pm
One Week Run!
108 (Cuchillo de Palo)
U.S. Theatrical Premiere
Renate Costa Perdomo, 2010, 91 min.
When Rodolfo Costa was found naked on the floor of his home in Paraguay, he had been dead for days. He also had a secret fortune, a secret alias—Héctor Torres—and an entirely secret life. In a powerful debut feature that unfolds like a mystery novel, director Renate Costa Perdomo investigates the shadowy circumstances of Rodolfo's death. Witnesses and clues gradually reveal Rodolfo's true identity as a persecuted gay man and his encounter with the terrifying "108" homosexual blacklists that ruined lives, careers, and families.
"Critic's Pick! The style is simple but the emotions highly sophisticated...Patiently photographed by Carlos Vasquez, 108 peels back layers of delusion and dishonesty."
—Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
"9/10 Stars! An extraordinary documentary...The film reveals how such history comes to be repressed. It’s frightening to contemplate, certainly, and also shapes your understanding of the world, your place in it, and your capacity to affect it."
—Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"Full of quiet artistry...Costa understands the power of awkward silences, holding the camera to explore discomfort and her own accusatory gaze. Even when discussing the horrors of the dictatorship, she maintains an unwavering calm that cuts through the hedging and the calculated avoidance of larger issues—hers is a selfless righteousness that nevertheless confronts her personal history."
—Jay Weissberg, Variety
Christine Turner, 2013, 58 min
Harlem's own Isaiah Owens, proprietor of the Owens Funeral Home--just a few blocks away from the Maysles Cinema on Malcolm X Blvd--and his family are the focus of this thoughtful cinematic portrait by New York filmmaker Turner. Growing up, Owens felt like an outcast for the interest in death and its rituals that led him to design elaborate ceremonies for the burial of neighborhood pets. Today, however, he is a pillar of his community, beloved for a gentle, practical approach to "homegoings" at a time when discussions of death are taboo and the undertaking field is dominated by impersonal big business. Venturing behind the scenes of a much feared and misunderstood profession, this thoughtful film examines the rituals of African American funerals and the approach that Owens takes to his craft, one of the few that black Americans could enter into freely after slavery. Combining cinéma vérité with personal interviews, Homegoings paints a portrait of Harlem's the dearly departed and the man who serves them.
Tuesday, June 25 and Friday, June 28: Post-film Q&As with director Christine Turner and the Homegoings cast!
Reception will follow the program on Friday, June 28!
"9/10 Stars! [A sense of justice and continuity makes the lovely documentary] Homegoings makes especially vibrant." —Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
StoryCorps Shorts: A 10th Anniversary Program
The Rauch Brothers, 2010-2013, approximately 20 mins.
Over 45,000 oral histories have been recorded by the NYC-based organization StoryCorps since they opened their doors in 2003. Archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the stories document the lives of Americans of all ages and beliefs in their own voices. In honor of their tenth anniversary, Documentary in Bloom at the Maysles Cinema is proud to present this program of StoryCorps short films, featuring the audio from selected oral histories brought beautifully to life with animation.
This program is made possible by P.O.V. Special thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). More information on StoryCorps >
The Maysles Cinema is located at:
343 Malcolm X Boulevard / Lenox Avenue (between 127th and 128th Streets)