Screening of Paradise, Michael Almereyda in Person

New York, NY (PressExposure) November 30, 2009 -- For Immediate Contact: 212-582-6050 ext. 221



The Maysles Cinema, a theater devoted to documentary film and founded by filmmaker Albert Maysles, will present a new film series: DOCUMENTARIES IN BLOOM: NEW FILMS PRESENTED BY LIVIA BLOOM. The series take place from November 2009 through November 2010.

This monthly and bi-monthly program highlights challenging, controversial, and though-provoking new documentary films of outstanding artistic merit. Shown in an intimate 57-seat setting, the films are accompanied by post-film discussions with members of their creative teams and offer a unique opportunity for audience members to discuss the films with each other and with the films’ creators in a community setting. Screenings are open to the public at the suggested donation of $10. The Maysles Cinema is located at 343 Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard at 127th Street, in New York City.

Michael Almereyda’s film Paradise (pictured above). will screen in December 5 and 12, 2009, at 3:30 p.m., followed by post-film discussions with the director in person. The New York Times writes, "Michael Almereyda’s Paradise is essentially a series of home movies, but home movies of a very high order. Resembling a Chris Marker film essay without the narration, the rigorous structure and the intellectual jokes, Paradise comprises 44 discrete scenes. They were culled from digital video footage Mr. Almereyda shot over the course of 10 years during which he nearly always carried a camera with him. Aside from music at the beginning and end, only ambient sounds and voices are heard. Although it lacks most of the usual devices that indicate a director’s point of view, it’s hard to imagine a more personal film. …As you let go of your expectations of continuity you become absorbed in the found beauties and small mysteries Mr. Almereyda discovers in pedestrian vistas and everyday events.”

Critical praise for Paradise: The peripatetic life of filmmaker Michael Almereyda is captured in glorious fragments forming a breathtaking whole…A superb panorama of contemporary life and death. --Variety

Whether the title Paradise is meant as an optimistic and ennobling view of our world or as an impossible dream of what we aspire toward, the film haunts us with Almereyda's touching thought that "life is made up of brief, paradisiacal moments." The moments are beautiful, strange, transient, often unpredictable, lyrical, and, of course, human. --Slant, Four stars

Mesmerizing…What these candid scenes have in common is a quiet, unassuming richness, and if you can roll with Almereyda’s free-form vibe, you’ll find the docu-essay’s cumulative effect goes a long way toward proving his thesis. --Time Out NY, Critic’s Pick

Steadily maintaining momentum and a meditative mood without narration or editorialization is itself a feat, but more vitally, Paradise appreciates and shares the curious mysteries in the seemingly banal. --The Village Voice

There are moments here of surreal beauty…The accumulative effect is strange and beautiful, yet rooted firmly in an accessible reality….An affecting—dare I say, paradisiacal—experience. --The Huffington Post

“Documentaries in Bloom: New Films presented by Livia Bloom” Upcoming Screenings:

JANUARY: Anne Aghion’s My Neighbor, My Killer, a film about the system by which Rwandans have created a court system where neighbors put one another on trial for war crimes during the genocide, will be presented from January 12-16, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. followed by post-film discussions with the director. USA/France, 2009, 80 minutes. (Pictured right).

MARCH: Ian Olds’s Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, about the kidnapping of a 24-year-old Afghani journalist who arranged clandestine interviews between foreign journalists and the Taliban, will be presented March 9-16, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. followed by post-film discussions with the director. USA, 2008, 84 minutes. (Pictured right).

MAY: Patrick Shen’s Philosopher Kings, which focuses on the lives of a group of janitors who work at exclusive colleges and museums, will be presented. USA, 2009, 70 minutes. Dates TBA (Pictured right).

JULY: Mitch McCabe’s Youth Knows No Pain, about the anti-aging industry and the relationship between the filmmaker, the daughter of a plastic surgeon, and her own aging, will be presented July 14-17, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. USA, 2009, 88 minutes.

Preceded by Daisy: The Story of a Facelift (Canada,1982, 58 minutes) one of the most important films documenting the facelift in its early days, by director Michael Rubbon and the Canadian Film Board

The series opened with two special screenings of Jeff Stilson’s Good Hair (pictured right) preceded by the short film TITLE, DATES with director X in attendance. The film was followed by a discussion with producer Nelson George in person.

Series curator Livia Bloom is the editor of the forthcoming book “Errol Morris: Interviews” (University Press of Mississippi), which features interviews from throughout the career of the Academy Award-winning documentarian. She has lectured on documentary film at Cornell University, and recently served as a member of the nominating committee for the Gotham Awards “Best Documentary”.

Maysles Cinema was founded by legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Salesman, Gimmer Shelter, Lalee’s Kin and Muhammad and Larry,). "Over 50 years ago I had the good fortune and inspiration to relate the lives of individuals through documentary film,” says Mr. Maysles. “Today the mission of the Maysles Institute is to cultivate this same inspiration and talent in others—especially young people—so they may learn to put across their feelings about themselves, their family, and society—things that are universal but often go unspoken."

The Maysles Cinema, a year-old non-profit theater in Harlem, is dedicated to the exhibition of documentary film and video. In addition to presenting the masterworks of the documentary tradition, overlooked or under-distributed gems and new releases, the Cinema is a space for meaningful social exchange, offering a forum for the discussion of questions of social and economic justice.

All films screened on DVD and shown in their original versions. More information at / / (212) 582-6050.

Maysles Cinema is located at 343 Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard, between 127th and 128th Streets, New York, NY 10011. Subway: Take the 2/3, 4/5/6, A/B/C/D trains to 125th Street.

The Maysles Institute is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA).

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Press Release Submitted On: November 30, 2009 at 7:02 pm
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