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12 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...

  • Portrait of Jason

    Episode 3

    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 4

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1968 • Belgium

    Made when the director was just eighteen, Chantal Akerman’s debut film is a blistering first expression of what would become one of her major themes: women’s confinement in and rebellion against the domestic sphere. Akerman plays a young woman who, al...

  • Faces

    Episode 5

    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 6

    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...

  • La chambre

    Episode 7

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1972 • Belgium

    Chantal Akerman’s dialogue with the 1960s avant-garde movement of structural cinema begins here, with the first film she made in New York City—a breakthrough in her experiments with the bending of cinematic time and space. As the camera completes a se...

  • Italianamerican

    Episode 8

    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...

  • A Loft

    Episode 9

    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...

  • And Nothing Happened

    Episode 10

    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 11

    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 12

    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.