Taking chances | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

Taking chances 

The filmmaker was young and blond, with soft features and a countenance that looked as if it might easily be wounded. From Los Angeles she had booked a flight to North Carolina when she found out her film would be shown at a festival alongside two old films of Albert Maysles, who would be appearing in person.

She sat in the row ahead of me, in an auditorium on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus on the opening night of the Hi Mom! film festival. I overheard her say she was nervous and excited about having the chance to impress a filmmaker as great as Maysles.

Her film of old women in New York and the ubiquitous water towers on so many of the city's rooftops was shown during the competition. It's a meditation on time passing. In it, an old woman implores those of us who are young to "take chances." We may experience failure, she says, but still we must take chances with our lives--sensible advice, but frightening all the same.

Maysles is not young. He's made many famous films and knows many famous people. Just before his films were shown, Maysles took the microphone and offered a critique of the earlier showing. "I don't know about these films we just saw. I'm trying to find a way to be honest, yet be kind." He laughed, and we gasped. "I mean, the use of narration ... ." He shook his head. Maysles does not like voiceover narration.

Fearing the worst, I peeked over at the young lady who had flown from California to be near him. She looked stunned. I looked away.

We watched Maysles' films about Truman Capote and Marlon Brando. There was no contest--they were very good, not least because of their flamboyant and charismatic subjects. Then Maysles took questions from the audience for nearly an hour. Sometime past midnight, there were still seven or eight of us there chatting with the great man. Among our number was the woman from L.A.

Apropos of nothing, Maysles stole a mischievious glance over his shoulder and around the room.

"Does anyone know what the hell those first films were about?"

I looked at the woman from L.A. Unbelievably, she was composed, her gaze fixed on the old man. A friend of hers, on the other hand, turned and walked quickly out of the auditorium.

Our gathering finally broke up and the woman from L.A. took out a camera and approached Maysles for a photograph.

"I made one of those films," she told him. "I'm sorry you didn't like it."

The elder filmmaker embraced her and kissed her on the cheek. Then, the woman from L.A. gave me her camera, and I took a picture of her standing next to Albert Maysles.

Latest in Front Porch

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Nobody will be surprised to learn that Hocutt never went to Nam. He was in the Navy but washed out …

by Jefflenter on Raleigh bad boy no more (Front Porch)

I see his concern. Yes, it was a well written story and showed his caring side for sure. But not …

by Linda Bates Terrell on Motorcycle men (Front Porch)

Follow-up to my "nervous mom" comment. The last coupe of weeks we have been in many situations with individuals that …

by paulapowers on Governor's School blues (Front Porch)

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation