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21 Episodes

Countless filmmakers have turned to their everyday lives for inspiration, but a few directors take it even further: shooting on location in their very own living spaces. Recent global circumstances may have conspired to make a fad of this eccentric approach to moviemaking, but it’s nothing new. From cinema’s earliest days, filmmakers have shot close to home—capturing their babies at the dining table or their partners in the garden—out of economic necessity, the desire to make something more immediately personal, or simply because their outsider visions were too weird to be realized anywhere else. This series offers a diverse array of examples of this endlessly fascinating subgenre, exploring how shooting at home can affect everything from performance to composition to mood, creating new cinematic spaces where personal truths and imaginative fictions mingle in an often uneasy coexistence. Seen together, they offer a very different notion of what constitutes a “home movie.”

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  • Close to Home Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Meshes of the Afternoon

    Episode 2

    Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid • 1943 • United States
    Starring Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

    Cinematic trance-maker Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid launched an underground revolution with this avant-garde landmark—shot in their Hollywood home, but a world away from the co...

  • Bad Girls Go to Hell

    Episode 3

    Directed by Doris Wishman • 1965 • United States
    Starring Gigi Darlene, Barnard L. Sackett, Sam Stewart

    One of the highlights of legendary exploitation auteur Doris Wishman’s ultraprolific career, BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL tells the tale of Meg (Gigi Darlene), a Boston housewife who, after she is rap...

  • Portrait of Jason

    Episode 4

    Directed by Shirley Clarke • 1967 • United States
    Starring Jason Holliday

    On the night of December 2, 1966, Shirley Clarke and a tiny crew convened in her apartment at the Hotel Chelsea to make a film. For twelve straight hours, they filmed the one-and-only Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang,...

  • Saute ma ville

    Episode 5

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1968 • Belgium

    Directed by and starring Chantal Akerman, this short film was made when she was just eighteen.

  • Faces

    Episode 6

    Directed by John Cassavetes • 1968 • United States
    Starring John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Gena Rowlands

    John Cassavetes puts a disintegrating marriage under the microscope in the searing FACES. Shot in high-contrast 16 mm black and white, the film follows the futile attempts of the captain of indust...

  • Multiple Maniacs

    Episode 7

    Directed by John Waters • 1970 • United States

    The gloriously grotesque second feature directed by John Waters is replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema's most memorably blasphemous moments. Made on a shoestring budget in Waters' native Baltimore, with th...

  • Pink Narcissus

    Episode 8

    Directed by James Bidgood • 1971 • United States
    Starring Don Brooks, Bobby Kendall, Charles Ludlam

    Working over the course of eight years in his downtown Manhattan loft, artist James Bidgood crafted this luxuriant queer fantasia, a crimson-saturated idyll of camp excess and erotic spectacle. Wh...

  • La chambre

    Episode 9

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1972 • Belgium

    In Chantal Akerman's early short film LA CHAMBRE, we see the furniture and clutter of one small apartment room become the subject of a moving still life, with Akerman herself staring back at us. This breakthrough formal experiment is the first film ...

  • Italianamerican

    Episode 10

    Directed by Martin Scorsese • 1974 • United States
    Starring Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese

    In one of his most personal works, Martin Scorsese sits down with his parents, Catherine and Charles, in their New York apartment for a free-flowing discussion that touches on family history, the imm...

  • That’s Life!

    Episode 11

    Directed by Blake Edwards • 1986 • United States
    Starring Jack Lemmon, Julie Andrews, Sally Kellerman

    This independently produced comedic drama from Blake Edwards is a true family affair. Shot in Edwards and Julie Andrews’s gorgeous beachside Malibu home and featuring a cast made up largely of f...

  • The Garden

    Episode 12

    Directed by Derek Jarman • 1990 • United Kingdom
    Starring Tilda Swinton, Johnny Mills, Kevin Collins

    Half waking dream and half fiery polemic, THE GARDEN was born of director Derek Jarman’s rage over continued antigay discrimination and the sluggardly response to the AIDS crisis (he himself he h...

  • Oxhide

    Episode 13

    Directed by Liu Jiayin • 2005 • China
    Starring Liu Jiayin, Liu Zaiping, Jia Huifen

    Daily life in an impossibly cramped Beijing apartment takes on epic proportions in this mesmerizing portrait of a working-class Chinese family. Boldly transforming documentary into narrative, Liu Jiayin casts her ...

  • Momma’s Man

    Episode 14

    Directed by Azazel Jacobs • 2008 • United States
    Starring Matt Boren, Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs

    Bumped from a flight back to Los Angeles and the life, wife, and infant daughter awaiting him there, Mikey (Matt Boren) returns to his childhood home, a cluttered, cocoon-like Manhattan loft presided ove...

  • Oxhide II

    Episode 15

    Directed by Liu Jiayin • 2009 • China
    Starring Liu Jiayin, Jia Huifen, Liu Zaiping

    Breaking new ground in cinematic art, Liu Jiayin’s follow-up to her masterful debut OXHIDE turns a simple dinner into a profoundly intimate study of family relationships. Once again, the writer-director casts hers...

  • A Loft
    16:13
    Episode 16

    A Loft

    Episode 16

    Directed by Ken Jacobs • 2010 • United States

    Ken Jacobs applies his exacting digital techniques—including his signature stroboscopic effects—to footage of the New York City loft where he lives and works. The result is a deconstruction of his most personal physical space and an intensification o...

  • This Is Not a Film

    Episode 17

    Directed by Jafar Panahi • 2011 • Iran
    Starring Jafar Panahi

    The first work fearless auteur Jafar Panahi made after being officially banned from filmmaking by the Iranian government, this clandestine documentary—shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute sub...

  • The Mend

    Episode 18

    Directed by John Magary • 2014 • United States
    Starring Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Lucy Owen

    The wonderfully strange and acidic debut comedy from writer-director John Magary will resonate with anyone who’s ever loathed and loved a sibling in equal measure. Unfolding as three stylistically dis...

  • And Nothing Happened

    Episode 19

    Directed by Naima Ramos-Chapman • 2016 • United States
    Starring Naima Ramos-Chapman, Angela Silverio, Bianca Soto

    A young woman dealing with the psychological aftermath of sexual violence shuffles between experiences both mundane and extraordinary as she attempts to leave her New York City apart...

  • Words, Planets

    Episode 20

    Directed by Laida Lertxundi • 2018 • Spain, United States

    Laida Lertxundi applies the six compositional principles of eighteenth-century Chinese painter Shih-t’ao (such as “draw attention to a scene emerging from a static background” and “add scattered dynamism to immobility”) to this cosmic dia...

  • The Big Trim

    Episode 21

    Directed by John Magary • 2020 • United States
    Starring Kalle Condliffe, John Magary

    Cooped up in their New York City apartment during the pandemic, a couple’s lockdown frustrations find release during a DIY haircut in this black-comic riff on Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough short THE BIG SHAVE.