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Darwin and the missing link in film

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12 years old in the library
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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Obviously I liked taking pictures but I had, maybe very unrealistic but certainly a very strong urge to do something great, and still photography didn't seem to me to have that kind of aspirational quality to it. But I- I liked it very much. And when I was 12, I think, I was very earnestly studying, you know, in the little public library in Brookline Massachusetts when I got kind of bored and I proceeded to walk around looking at books on the shelves. And I came across this title that intrigued me. The title was "Architects of Ideas: The Great Theorists of Mankind". And it was, I discovered, written in such a way that a layman could understand who these theorists were and what their theories were. So I opened the book and I ran across some sixteen names, each one a chapter devoted to that person- names that I'd never heard before but as I discovered their stories I wanted to be one of them. One of them was Copernicus; there was Plato; there was Bruno; Galileo; Freud; Marx; Pasteur; Boas, who was the originator of the science of Anthropology; Lavoisier who invented chemistry in the 18th century, I believe. Sixteen of these people. Darwin, Charles Darwin. I'd never heard of him but he had this interesting theory of evolution, which defied the church. The writer was somewhat left wing which I'm sure was to influence me.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Rebekah Maysles Sara Maysles Tamara Tracz

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: Massachusetts, Brookline, Architects of Ideas: The Great Theorists of Mankind, Copernicus, Plato, Galileo, Charles Darwin, Antoine Lavoisier, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Louis Pasteur, Franz Boas

Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008