Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All-Documentary Maysles Cinema in Harlem

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Maysles Cinema, a nonprofit theater in Harlem founded by Mr. Maysles, who, with his late brother David, made such landmark films as "Salesman" (1968) and "Grey Gardens" (1975), aims to show nothing but documentaries, and intends to build an audience through them, not in spite of them.

The cinema, which on Sunday [July 13, 2008] will begin Strangers in Strange Lands, an 11-film series of travelogues by noted French directors, occupies the street level of a Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard building (between 127th and 128th streets) that also houses the offices of Mr. Maysles's production company, Maysles Films, as well as the Maysles Institute, which runs film education programs. The institute was launched three years ago, around the time the production company relocated to Harlem.

Though these documentaries provide glimpses into foreign lands, the cinema has no intention of disengaging from its immediate surroundings. Philip Maysles said that he hopes "this series represents the introduction of the Maysles Cinema as a satellite, uptown venue for the kind of independent and radical programming that is available downtown, in Brooklyn, and Queens. That said, our success depends equally upon our ability to generate programs that are organic to the political struggles and cultural triumphs of Harlem through collaboration with longtime residents." -- The Sun

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