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Train stories: the over disciplined child

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The experience that began my interest in train journeys
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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I guess that part of my passion, part of my fascination with trains may come from a personal experience that I had. When I was 17 years old the war was on, it was 1944, and I was about to go off to war. And there were a bunch of kids my age, all of us only 17, on the train, waiting for the train to move out. And as we waited we, as kids will do, we joked around, having a great fun of meeting one another. And, and as I was still laughing about a joke the train began to move and I looked out the window and there was my family- my father, my mother, my kid brother and my older sister. They were just looking in, they couldn't see me, but they were looking at the train as it was going out. And I'll never forget that look, the look that said- oh my God, he may never come back. And it happened so fast that they were gone from my view before I could catch up with that emotion. And so in completing that gestalt that I'm always doing- I'm trying to catch up with that emotion as I see in my mind's eye my family just looking ahead in that, with that fear and that terrible feeling that this might be the last time they might see me. And, who knows, there may be the opportunity to film something like that, and certainly if something like that were to become evident in my travelling I sure will get it because I'm prepared for it.

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: World War II

Duration: 2 minutes, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008