Meet the Filmmaker
Norman Mailer's “Maidstone”
Norman Mailer's “Maidstone”
Presented and Introduced by Michael Chaiken
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Location: NY NATAS, 1375 Broadway, Suite 2103
Reception: 6:00-6:30 PM ~ Program: 6:30-8:00 PM
*Free to NY NATAS Members!
$15 for those without current membership
Maidstone, Norman Mailer, 1968–1970, 110 minutes
In July of 1968, in the wake of the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the attempt on the life of Andy Warhol, the elegant resort town of East Hampton witnessed a bizarre invasion of celebrities and unknowns, professional actors and amateurs, black radicals and underground superstars, assembled by Norman Mailer for a movie in which he would both direct and star. Shot by D.A. Pennebaker and Ricky Leacock, Maidstone, Mailer’s third and most ambitious film concerns the exploits of highly popular, yet esoteric, film director Norman T. Kingsley casting a remake of Buñuel's Belle du Jour. While also considering a run for the U.S. presidency, Kingsley finds himself being scrutinized by both the Eastern establishment and an elite secret police organization ostensibly formed to protect him from assassination. Described by its director as a “guerilla raid on the nature of reality,” Mailer’s existential psychodrama sets the stage for an explosion of human passions in its volatile mix of existential politics, direct cinema and sexual intrigue that dissolves the line between fiction and actuality.
Michael Chaiken is the former Program Director for Film at International House Philadelphia, where for six years he served as chief film curator, moving to New York City in 2005 to assist documentarian Albert Maysles. Over the past five years he has worked with Norman Mailer and the Norman Mailer Estate, in 2008 helping to establish the Norman Mailer Film and Media Collection at the Harvard Film Archive. A freelance film curator, he has toured retrospectives of the work of Albert and David Maysles, Peter Whitehead and Luc Moullet in addition to organizing “The Mistress & the Muse: The Cinematic Life of Norman Mailer” in 2007 at New York’s Lincoln Center and Anthology Film Archives. He is a frequent contributor to Film Comment magazine and co-editor of “Albert Maysles: Photographs/Cinemagraphs/Documents” (2007, Steidl/Kasher) and “Arthur Penn: Interviews” (2008, University Press of Mississippi). He is currently producing a DVD collection of Mailer’s “sixties trilogy,” Wild 90 (1967), Beyond the Law (1968) and Maidstone (1968-70), for the Criterion Collection to be released in March 2010.
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