July 2, 2022

Filmmaker Alexandra Isles Reveals Hidden Treasures May 24

Rembrant Self-Portrait,1660

Every year millions of people visit the Metropolitan Museum to admire its treasures– but behind the scenes, Museum staff have their own personal, often surprising, relationships with the works of art Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Isles, who’ll screen her film “Hidden Treasures”  at the Essex Library on Thursday May 24 at 7 PM, takes us “backstage” at the Museum, and introduces us to the odd, moving, even mystical stories of Museum staff, who spend their days, and sometimes their nights, restoring, guarding, moving, cleaning and teaching about the art. Their stories include a wish-granting statue, a sword with a secret compartment, a time traveling melody, a portrait that has become a trusted mentor, a famous landscape with an unexpected population, and rooms and objects that brought joy to a dying woman.

This rare opportunity to meet the filmmaker kicks off the Essex Library’s series of documentary films; all very different, idiosyncratic, and powerful in their own ways.  Some will make you laugh, some may make you cry; all will inform and enlighten you.  Screenings are on Thursdays and begin at 6:30: May 31st,THE INTERRUPTERS focuses on community volunteers trying to break the deadly cycle of gang violence in Chicago that they themselves were once part of: JUNE 7th, HELL AND BACK AGAIN follows a wounded Iraqi war vet as he returns home and readjusts to a changed life: JUNE 14th, A MAN CALLED PEARL tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, who fought prejudice by creating beauty: JUNE 21st: INTO THE ABYSS by Werner Hertzog, whose conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people – and the state – kill: JUNE 28th, VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR is an intimate portrait of a volatile fashion icon at the spectacular end of his career. All films are free; to register for the programs or for more information, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560. The Library is located at 33 West Avenue.

PHOTO CAPTION: A museum employee who’s “consulted” this Rembrandt self-portrait before every major decision in his adult life is one of the fascinating people presented in the film “HIDDEN TREASURES”, to be presented at Essex Library by its director Alexandra Isles on Thursday May 24th at 7 PM.