a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Sean O'Casey: The Spirit of Ireland: a film about a film


Meeting and working with Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard
Albert Maysles Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
So, my brother and I were at Cannes on an assignment for some big production company to film interviews with famous directors who were there to promote their films. I remember filming Roman Polanski and, and his wife who was the most beautiful woman I've ever met. The most graceful. And I filmed her dancing. I remember that. So I must try to find that footage. Either we have it or the Film Company must have a copy of it. One day in Cannes somebody happened to mention to us that Orson Welles was in Cannes but he was some 20 miles out of the town in a bar room talking to some people and if we went out there we might get an opportunity to meet him. So we drove out and when we got there and introduced ourselves- I don't think he'd seen any of our films but he knew who we were and how we worked. And almost right away he said- well where are you going from here? I said- oh, we're going back to New York. Well, instead, why don't you stop off in Madrid for a week? So we spent a week in Madrid with Orson Welles going to bull fights, restaurants. But not, maybe the first or the second day he began to talk about a film that we should make together about people who go to bull fights. And anything that he would want to do- and where we would be involved in making it with him, y'know, sounded exciting to us. So, so we filmed him talking about this film that we'd make and we ended up with this wonderful little ten minute piece which has yet to be put out and we're hoping to include it with some other films on a DVD that we'll market: a film of Muhammad Ali preparing for his last fight; a film of a young American dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet; all kinds of stuff. Pieces of films- entire short films that could be put forth on DVD. The other famous and very talented film director was Jean-Luc Godard. I had met Bob A. Schroeder who was a film producer and, and film director to be. I'd met him in New York at a time when he was about to, to leave but had to spend a little more time in New York and I invited him to stay at my apartment. And it wasn't long before I learned of a film that he was about to make- a film which would be called "Paris vu Par" which is- in English means "Paris As Seen By"- Well, it's Paris as seen by a number of famous French film directors, and each one would contribute a short 10-15 minute piece that would be part of this collection of Paris stories that would be in this film. One of- one of the objectives of the film was that it would all be- everything would be shot at 16mm which was kind of unheard of for a theatrical film, which it would be. But he wanted to promote the notion that the theatres would incorporate a 16mm projector in their theatres by having to show it that way with this film. And so one day he said- you know, one of the directors is Jean-Luc Godard and, he said- you guys would be great working together; what if I called up Jean-Luc and suggested that you come to be part of the filmmaking- that you would shoot his little story? And I said well, that'd be great. And so he called Jean-Luc and he said- yeah, send him over tomorrow because everything is all set. So I got there with my camera and the idea was- and a revolutionary idea at that- that this piece of fiction would be shot in such a way where the actors would all know exactly what they were to do, and the scene would be lit, all set, and I would walk in at that time and film it the way I would a documentary, just discovering from moment to moment exactly what was going on as I was filming it. And so I think I only shot maybe two or three rolls of film, so that's a half an hour, so just about everything that I shot was used because, because each shot had a continuity that the editor wouldn't, wouldn't want to interrupt. It was so smooth and so- and so- great. You know, when you- when you have the opportunity in a fiction film to, to choose your shots from moment to moment, you do all kinds of things that, that take away at times the feeling of really being there. But, but when the camera continues to, to move with the, with the action, you feel that you're seeing everything that you would if you were there with your- with your own eyes. Anyway, it came across just beautifully and, and convincingly. It was a kind of a filmmaking that was similar to that of- oh, who's that? "Shadows." Cassavetes Yes, similar, similar to- it was a kind of filmmaking similar to Cassavetes but went one step beyond.

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: Sara Maysles Rebekah Maysles Tamara Tracz

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.

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.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: Cannes, New York, Madrid, Bolshoi Ballet, Paris vu Par, Cassavetes, Roman Polanski, Orson Welles, Muhammad Ali, Jean-Luc Godard, Bob A Schroeder

Duration: 7 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008