Maysles Center Presents Festival of Films for Peace

New York, New York (PressExposure) October 30, 2009 -- What we want is peace!

Maysles center for documentary films presents festival of films celebrating peace, decrying war.

The maysles institute (A.K.A. The maysles center for documentary films), founded by award-winning and renowned filmmaker, albert maysles (grey gardens, gimme shelter, salesman) will be screening a festival of films documenting humanity’s striving for peace and its abhorence of war. The films to be shown amplify the concise statement made centuries ago by herodotus: “in peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons.”

with wars being ferociously fought in afghanistan and iraq, the need for peace has developed into an immediate sense of urgency. And now the maysles center addresses that urgency with some of the most brilliant and searing documentaries that present the horrors of war and the need for peace throughout the world.

These films address the insanity of war as well as those who support it, captured in the final lines of a poem by siegfried sassoon: “you smug faced crowds with kindling eye/ who cheer when soldier lads walk by/ sneak home and pray you’ll never know/ the hell where youth and laugther go.”

following are a list of films and the dates they will be screened.

What We Want Is Peace! Presented by Al Maysles Tuesday, November 3rd, 7:30pm All Quiet on the Western Front Dir. Lewis Milestone, 1930, 133 min. Based on the novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque, the film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War 1 by their jingoistic teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of the young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals. As the boys witness death and mutilation all around them, any preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the conflict disappear, leaving them angry and bewildered. This is highlighted in the scene where Paul mortally wounds a French soldier and then weeps bitterly as he fights to save his life while trapped in a shell crater with the body. The film is not about heroism but about drudgery and futility and the gulf between the concept of war and the actuality.

The Fight For Peace Hendrik Willem Van Loon (1938), 70 min. This film presents a simple historical account of the First World War and introduces the major players in the Second. The dramatic voiceover and “storybook” format make this seem a little ridiculous for modern viewers. However, it is valuable because it demonstrates the sort of bias that is present during the 1930s due to the fear of Stalinist communism. This documentary does not provide any new information for anyone who has studied the two wars, but what it does give is a sense of what was considered a documentary during this time of fear.

What We Want Is Peace! Presented by Al Maysles Wednesday, November 4th, 7:30 PM The Last Atomic Bomb Dir. Robert Richter, 2006, 92 min. Nagasaki survivor Sakue Shimohira has dedicated her life to making sure the truth about the last atomic bomb deliberately used on human beings will never be forgotten. She engages young students around nuclear disarmament activism. Gods of Metal, Dir. Robert Richter, 1982, 19 min An Oscar nominee for best documentary short, focused on a range of actions by ordinary Americans concerned over the Cold War threat of a nuclear war. If you care about nuclear proliferation this documentary is a text book of what you can do about it.

What We Want Is Peace! Presented by Al Maysles Thursday, November 5th, 7:30 pm The World Is Watching Dir. Jim Munro and Peter Raymont, 1987, 59 min Who decides what's news? And how do they decide? Are foreign correspondents allowed to tell all that they see? This production focuses on several journalists working in Nicaragua during the negotiations surrounding the Arias Peace Plan in November 1987. It examines how the news business works, revealing the inevitable distortions that become part of the process. ABC TV's Peter Jennings and John Quinones;Newsweek, photographer Bill Gentile; The Boston Globe's Randolph Ryan; Edith Coron; reporter for the Paris newspaper,Libération; and John Snow, correspondent for Britain's ITN TV News.

What We Want Is Peace! Presented by Al Maysles Friday, November 6th, 7:30pm

The Day After Peace Dir. Jeremy Gilley (2008) 82 min Can one person make the world stop all war for one day? Jeremy Gilley, a British former child actor thinks to himself, what if the world stopped fighting for just one day? A day of peace! Then he starts to make a film about himself and his mission - global ceasefire. The result is an international action/adventure documentary (for peace) made with a budget like Indiana Jones (non-profit money and product placement is big business). His movie is his life as it unfolds for 10 years. Takes his idea all the way to the UN and gets every country to agree that September 21st will be a day without war. September 11th, 2001, Kofi Annan is getting ready to ring the bell of peace at the UN building . . . This movie is wild. Angelina Jolie is in it, the real Angelina Jolie. This movie is like Peace itself - you're skeptical but you know you want to see it. Discussion led by Albert and Philip Maysles

What We Want Is Peace! Presented by Al Maysles Saturday, November 7th, 3:00pm Origins of Aggression: The Other Story Dir. Jean-Pierre Maher, 2005, 50 min. Is human aggression a result of nature or nurture? Interviews with researchers from various fields--including a Nobel prize winner--shed light on the question. Startling footage of children acting out their aggressive impulses adds to this compelling documentary that examines the complex factors that affect the socialization of aggressive behavior among humans. Biological, environmental and psychological components are addressed, and guidelines for the prevention of human violence are also provided.

In Our Hands Dir. Robert Richter and Stanley Warnow, 1984, 90 min. A chronicle focusing in on the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world, which took place on June 12, 1982. One million people were in New York on what's been described as a magical day, speaking in one voice to "stop the nuclear arms race." There were forty-three volunteer camera teams to shoot the large-scale event; even the cops were on the side of the demonstrators. (and 5 days to change the world).

Pray the Devil Back To Hell Dirs. Abigal E. Disney and Gini Reticker, 2008, 72 min.

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL is the gripping account of a group of brave and visionary women who demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn to shreds by a decades old civil war. Combining contemporary interviews, archival images, and scenes of present-day Liberia the film recounts the experiences and memories of the women who stood up to their country's tyrannical leader and brutal warlords, in order to bring peace to their tormented country.

The films will be screened at the Maysles Cinema, the only movie theater in Harlem dedicated to documentary film, which serves as a site of community based, low-cost popular education and entertainment. Its programming is selected in collaboration with its ever expanding community of viewers, independent curators, educators, and filmmakers. The Maysles Cinema provides a unique space for passionate, engaged and interactive exploration of topics of community interest. For further information, please visit

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Press Release Submitted On: October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm
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