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

This War At Home

Dir. Ivan Sanchez Jr. (2008) 6 min.

Bronx based filmmaker Ivan Sanchez Jr.  examines the loss of African-American and Latino male role models to a war waged abroad and its impact on the "war at home" - struggles for survival and development in Black and Brown communities in U.S. cities. Sanchez Jr. brings personal insight to this structural problem as he connects the loss of his 19 year old uncle Ivan in Vietnam in 1968 to his involvement in gangs and drugs as a youth. Sanchez Jr. resolves to compensate for his absent role models by doubling his efforts to guide and love the next generation. This War At Home was produced through NBPC's Black Masculinity Series in 2008.

Discussion with:

--Richard Adams - filmmaker; cameraman for No Vietnamese

--Kazembe Balagun - organizer, writer; Outreach Coordinator of the Brecht Forum

--Matt Peterson - critic and filmmaker; curator of Red Channels

--Ivan Sanchez, Jr. - author of Next Stop (2008); writer of This War at Home