Maysles Archives

Filmmaker Al Maysles moves offices; you win

What did cinema verité pioneer Al Maysles let fall between the cracks? Maysles recently moved his office and all manner of outtakes, trims, and unused material tumbled out from behind the shelves. Some cans included other people's footage— including a "lost" Warhol commercial for the Plaza 8 supper club, material from Simon Hartog's 1970 on-set interviews with François Truffaut ( Bed and Board) and Robert Bresson ( Une Femme Douce), and the 1971 Grand Funk Railroad: Live at Shea Stadium (who they?), shot by Maysles and Ricky Leacock. Part of Anthology's ongoing Personal Archive series, these are showing in the first program. Maysles will be present for the second which includes two short docs—a 1962 portrait of an American dancer in the Bolshoi Ballet and an investigation of IBM's corporate culture—as well as a promo made for Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (with Keir Dullea explicating his role in 2001). Best are the mid-'60s New York snippets: Salvador Dali swanning around town to promote the release of Fantastic Voyage, Norman Mailer advertising himself, and the young Yoko Ono in one of her most alarming performances. March 8 and 9, Anthology Film Archives.


Plus:

Formerly known the Harlem Film Festival, the 11th edition of this annual event, now dubbed Harlem Stage on Screen, opens with American Blackout, recipient of a special prize at Sundance last year, which examines the nature of voter disenfranchisement in the last two presidential elections. Claire Andrade-Watkins's feature doc on Rhode Island's Cape Verdeans and six programs of mainly documentary shorts—on subjects ranging from New Orleans to sweet potato pie— culminate with a screening of the 1989 telefilm of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Bill Duke and starring Danny Glover. March 9 through 11, 150 Convent Avenue at W. 135th Street.

Descartes(1973), Robert Rossellini's two-and-a-half hour biopic about the most French of French philosophers, didn't make it into the Museum of Modern Art's recent retro. (And, amazingly, it was never telecast in France.) It's screening as part of Rossellini Reduxwith two of Rossellini's quintessential films—a restored print of the 1946 neo-realist classic Paisan(amply sampled in one of the Oscar-night clip jobs) and the English- language version of Voyage in Italy (1953) with Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, and the city of Naples. March 9 through 12, MOMA.

Exhibit A in Lincoln Center's one-off Changing Politics in Iran is Jafar Panahi's Offside—the terrific, soon-to-open movie about the struggle of an Iranian women to attend an international soccer match. Professor Hamid Dabashi, author of the newly published Iran: A People Interrupted, is scheduled to introduce. Panahi, who was supposed to be in town for interviews, won't be; last week, our government rescinded the Iranian director's travel visa. Offside indeed. March 12, Walter Reade Theater.

 
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