In 1959, George Nelson designed an incredible trade fair to be sent to Russia, a kind of yard sale of things American. Everything from automatic vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, to Polaroid cameras and newly pioneered videotape, as well as books not available under Stalinist rule were represented as the fruits of the capitalist American consumer market. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev held the famous “Kitchen Debates” in a kitchen at the fair. With dancers and music from Oklahoma, films by Charles Eames and a huge dome by Buckminster Fuller, the Russians got their first glimpse of what was happening on the other side of the Curtain.
For all of us it was a first look too. Al Maysles was with me but the fair was just a start. Street cars and trains took us everywhere and we spent the summer filming everything we could get at that was Russian, and all with beautiful kodachrome stock. When I showed the film in Moscow recently the Russians were startled to see how beautiful the city looked then, because they remembered it in black and white.
D A Pennebaker
A FILM BY D A PENNEBAKER SHIRLEY CLARKE, AND AL MAYSLES WITH GEORGE NELSON, MARIAH WINN MARGARET ANDERSON, SAM DRIVER, ALEXIS FEDEROV, GEORGE FEIFER, EDWARD STEICHER, ELIZABETH VALKENIEN, DUNCAN WHITESIDE EDITED BY D A PENNEBAKER DIRECTED BY D A PENNEBAKER