Running Fence

(dir. David & Albert Maysles – USA, 1978, 58 mns)

Screens on Wednesday November 14th 2012 7.30pm.
Introduced and concluded (on tape) by Al Maysles.

Kitchen Sink Cinema goes epic with a film that may be less known but not less relevant. Thanks to a little excursion to New York recently, we were able to visit the living legend Albert Maysles who is keen to present one of his Christo films, Running Fence.  It’s an honor for us to be granted a screening and having it introduced and followed by Albert himself especially for you, our dedicated Kitchen Sink Cinema audience. Even though on tape, it’s a personal salute from him to all of us. A must-see. All welcome.

Join us for drinks at 7pm. The screening starts at 7.30 pm: entry is free as usual, donations very welcome. Hope to see you there!

A celebration of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s vision; first a four-year struggle, then 24 1/2 miles of white  nylon fabric, rising from the Pacific and stretching like a white sail across California.

Runing Fence depicts the long struggle by the artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, to build a 24 mile fence of white fabric over the hills of California disappearing into the Pacific. Cost: 3 million dollars. The idea at first must seem the limit of absurdity for the fence was taken down as planned at the end of two weeks and now exists solely on film. There is a struggle between the artists and the state bureaucracy, who want to prevent the fence being erected, even though the ranchers whose land it crosses want it. Opposition seems insurmountable.

The fence finally unfurled brings the community together in celebration of its beauty. After four years of work, Christo sees the vision realized. “See how it describes the wind.”

And see an excerpt here!


By far the finest film I have seen about an artist and his work. Technically brilliant, beautifully paced, with  not an image wasted or held too long, the film somehow makes it possible for the viewer to become involved at a deep and personal level with the whole mad, marvelous epic. RUNNING FENCE is never didactic; it neither explains nor describes, and this is its great strength. On its own terms the film is as novel, as surprising, as hilarious, and in the end as beautiful as the work of art with which it deals.
Calvin Tomkins, the NEW YORKER

Running Fence picks up where Gimme Shelter left off.  Gimme Shelter, the Maysles Brothers (with Charlotte Zwerin) Altamont film, dealt with the breakdown of community, the exhaustion of the youth culture of the 60’s; Runing Fence, their new movie, in a sense deals with the survival of community, the way in which people discover the meaning of integrity and integration through a creative act.
— Robert Taylor, THE BOSTON GLOBE


Blue Ribbon, American Film & Video Festival (1978)
1978 Academy Award Nominee


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