The Thaw: Proto-verite in the Soviet Union

Presented with Red Channels and the Brecht Forum

Psychiatry in Russia

Dir. Albert Maysles, 1955, 14 min.

This rarely- screened film was the first professional film Albert Maysles made. While still teaching Psychiatry at Boston University Albert Maysles received a small amount of money to make this film in the Soviet Union. Entering the country for the first time, speaking almost no Russian, with very little money and no contacts in the Soviet Union Albert was still able to pull- off this excellent film. At his hotel he ran into the famous African- American journalist William Worthy Jr. who invited him to attend a cocktail at the Romanian Embassy. Albert managed to get into the cocktail party where he met some of the most important people in the Soviet Union including Mikhail Pervukhin, a high ranking official in the Soviet Politburo, who introduced him to the Soviet head of Psychiatry thus making this film possible. The movie in it's profiling of various asylums and mental institutions in the Soviet Union reveals as much about the ordinary man in Russia as it does about the so-called insane.


Letter from Siberia

Dir. Chris Marker, 1957, 57 min.

Letter from Siberia was Chris Marker's first feature and an unforgettable cinematic essay/travelogue on Siberia, communism, the Soviet Union, the role of film, the traveler as well as the immediacies of both time and place. The film foreshadowed Chris Marker's reflexive and experiemental approach to the documentary format which would both become hallmarks of his unique approach to cinema verite. This film is rich in both imagery and voice-over material where Chris Marker speaks through a voice that is not his own. "A work such as Letter From Siberia demonstrates that place can only ever be event. It is this identification and elucidation of the singularities of place, moment, memory, in a screen-based medium, that will be Marker's lasting legacy." - Adrian Miles, Senses of Cinema  


After the Screening: Panel Discussion with director Albert Maysles and special guest

Moderated by Matt Peterson

Presented in partnership with Red Channels and the Brecht Forum