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Early memories of my father and his love for music


The Mendel Beilis case
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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When I was about eight or nine the family had a visit from an ancient relative in Russia and he sat me down and told me about the Dreyfuss case and- which I knew something of already. And then he told me about the Beilis case, enough so that I remembered something of it. And so several years back I decided to look more carefully into the case and see if there was a film there and part of my excitement came about when I had heard that there was a woman in the Bronx, the sole surviving child of Mendel Beilis who himself died in 1934. Now 95 years old, Rhea Beilis remembers everything. She was only four at the time but she certainly got to know her father after the trial and to identify with his suffering. And so I have done a good deal of filming of her. As well as two women whose uncle was one of the five attorneys defending Mendel Beilis, and these two women, in their 80s and 90s, they are so identified with and so fond of this civil rights defender, Zarundy, that they- one of them is writing a book about their uncle and both of them know a great deal about the case.

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 Tamara Tracz Sara Maysles

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.

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.

Tags: Russia, Bronx, Menahem Mendel Beilis, Rhea Beilis

Duration: 1 minute, 54 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008