September 26, 1988 12:00 PM

If this tape were any drier, it would crumble into dust and blow away. And that’s not its only problem. Co-directed by Albert Maysles, who with his late brother, David, created such landmark documentaries as Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens, it attempts ineptly to compress an introduction to the nation’s 25,000 charitable foundations—how they operate, whom they work with, how they decide who will receive the $10 billion they dole out each year—into 30 minutes. There are lots of talking heads, almost none of whom are ever identified. When officials of a Los Angeles operation called the Communications Bridge Institute are told they’re getting funding for their student video producers, they rejoice, and it looks like one of the rejoicers is actor Brock Peters. It is—he and his wife run the institute—but you’d never know that from watching this tape; he isn’t even identified in the credits. There are hints of how fascinating this tape could have been as a foundation board (unidentified, though it’s the California Community Foundation) debates whether to continue funding a multiple sclerosis program. Nothing is ever followed up, though, so all the snippets of information just seem to float around waiting in vain to be completed and organized. (Karol Media, loaned free; 201-628-9111)

You May Like