Misery Loves Company: The Life & Death of Bruce Gilden

Synopsis: The idea of "street photography," taking one's camera out into the world and shooting whatever catches one's attention, took on a special twist in the work of Bruce Gilden. His photographs are often records of his confrontations with his subjects, and the tension of the moment is as much a part of the final product as the light and shadows. Gideon Gold caught up with the wisecracking Gilden - described as a Damon Runyon of photographers - and provided a platform for Gilden to talk about his life, work, and ideas about photography.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Gideon Gold
60 min

"Who am I then?

"tell me that first,

"and then if i like being

That person, Ill come up.

"if not, Ill stay down here

till Im somebody else."

Gene, is that you?

yes, it's me.

Oh, dear boy.

It is a comfort

To hear your voice.

Do you realize, Gene, this

Is our 17th conversation?

You are all I do, Gene.

Every six months,

I am obliged

To move to a new apartment.

I settle in,

Wait to be contacted,

Only to move on again.

I think you are reason

I remain alive.

Gene, the old man

Wants you to come home.


You mustn't fear going home,

Dear boy.

But i am afraid

I am bearer of bad news.


??? Well.

the American military

Headquarters in Vietnam,



but now that

Was a last-ditch holding area.

to avoid the threat

Of surface-to-air missiles...



You're welcome.


Mr. McAuliffe,

This is Manny Ebbitt

In the operations center.

What's with

The "Mr. McAuliffe," Manny?

Wanted to make it

Official, jack.

Looks like

We got a walk-in.

Okay, Ill come over.

last week

At the Smithsonian,

This woman strikes up

A conversation

With a Russian diplomat.

They chat,

End up having lunch.

Tonight, out of the blue,

The Russian shows up

At her doorstep.

How'd he get the address?

He knew her name.

After a long talk,

She decides to trust him

And lets him come up

To her place,

and he tells her

His whole story.

She agrees to help

And calls us.

Gonna go through

My underwear, too?


I'll be outside

If you need me, sir.

Would you mind waiting

In the other room?

I'd mind if i thought

Someone would notice.

Good luck, Sergei.

No. I am--

I'm not wanting that.


Let's chat then,

Off the record.

What is your job at the embassy,

Mr. Kukushkin?

Political attach is my diplomatic cover.

I have rank of captain


You may call me Sergei.

And what do you

Want with us, Sergei?

Political asylum in America

For me, for my wife,

For my 7-years daughter.

What made you decide

To come over?

My wife--

She is heartsick.

She is taking medicine

For ma years


I want her

To have good doctor,

American doctor.

She needs surgery?

That is correct.

Well, why didn't you

Come before? Why now?

Borisov, KGB resident

In Washington,

Is schoolmate of mine

From Lomonosov University.

From him, i know

KGB has what you call a mole

Inside the CIA.

Impossible for me

To come over before.

The mole would tell KGB.

Me, my family would be...

Two days ago,

After much whiskey,

Borisov is telling me

Both mole and cutout of mole

Are out of city.

This is moment

I must act.

If you can identify

The mole, Sergei,

We could bring you

And your family over

And make sure that

The KGB never found you.

i do not think

Even resident


Only that he exists.

But you already know

He is not in Washington--

Narrows down list.

And i am able to provide

Other particulars.

By telling us this mole

And his cutout

Are out of the country,

Pinnacle gives us

The first plausible detail.

That could make him

A genuine defector.

When's this, um--what name

Are we giving this guy?


When's this pinnacle

Gonna give us

Some information, jack?

Well, he gave me

One item,

The code name

Of the mole--Sasha.

When we bring the Russian

And his family

To the other side,

He'll give us the first initial

Of Sasha's family name,

As well as the dates

Of a previous vacation

That he took.

The dates correspond

To a--

A trip that Starik

Was on as well.

Pinnacle will give us

The corroborating paperwork

To verify this.

Now with these two pieces

Of information,

We should be able to nail

His identity cold.

Jim, assessment?

It is a chance this could be

A genuine defection.

But even if he is genuine,

Starik's more likely dangling

Some bait in front of my nose.

Well, let's take the worst case.

Let's say pinnacle is bait.

He's offering us the mole,

Sasha's identity,

As well as dozens

Of other juicy tidbits.

We should be able to separate

The wheat from the chaff.

Almost impossible to do.

If pinnacle is real,

We'll need to go through

A lengthy process

To establish this fact.

If he is a dispatched agent,

Starik is going through

A great deal of trouble,

And we're going

To need to find out why.

We have two weeks,

According to pinnacle.

That's when Sasha returns.

Debriefing a defector

Is an art unto itself.

It's not simply a matter

Of asking the right questions,

But not asking the right

Questions too quickly--

Very delicate game,

Very delicate.

I'd like to bring

Someone in on this.

Defections take time, Sergei.

How much time?

Five, six weeks.

Sasha is back

In Washington

Before five weeks!

In five weeks,

I am dead man!

Calm down, Sergei.

There is a way out of this.

There is no way

Out of coffin.

What should i do?

Does anyone ever

Call you this late?

Just my mother, it could be her.

Answer it.

But what if it isn't her?

What do i say?

Well, don't say anything.

You're a woman having an affair

With a married man.

You'll naturally

Be evasive, secretive.


can i speak

To Pavel Vitrovski?

No. There's no one here

By that name.

Okay. Thank you.

You--you're welcome.


The S. K. is having

Her phone number.

They are checking on me to see

If there is woman here.

He had an accent.

your people trust you

As much as we do.

thank you,

Mrs. Ept.

You did very well.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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