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A meeting on a train in Russia

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Train stories: the over disciplined child
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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There was a time when I was on the train, filming my train film, and I was chatting with a woman about her life. And she was telling me interesting stories but she didn't want to be filmed and so I thought that was okay. But the stories were so good that at one point I thought she was about to tell me- I thought that she was about to tell me a key story of her life- the most important story of all. And I wanted so much to film it but I knew that I shouldn't even ask. But I thought for a moment that my video camera was right on the table and that if I turned it on I would certainly get her voice. And the way it was positioned I would get her hands as well. And so I turned the camera on and she proceeded to tell me the story of how, when her child was three years old, she took this child into the park and he began to behave so badly that she found herself over-disciplining the child. And she didn't like that. So she decided that she would let the child behave as he was and she would, she would walk away. And as she walked away she heard this crash and she turned back and this child was run over by a car. That little story which must be the most important story in her life as she told- and I got it- and I got it with due respect to her. And I'm sure that there's no way of identifying her as, as the author of that story. And it's a story that I think she would appreciate having been told, but having been told only that way, without her telling it with her face. So there's a way to get all of these things and to get them respectfully.

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: train, camera, film making, children, story

Duration: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008