Download e-book for kindle: Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney

By Joe McElhaney

ISBN-10: 0252034295

ISBN-13: 9780252034299

Albert Maysles has created one of the most influential documentaries of the postwar interval. Such movies as Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens proceed to generate severe debate in regards to the ethics and aesthetics of the documentary shape. during this in-depth learn, Joe McElhaney deals a singular figuring out of the ancient relevance of Maysles. by means of heavily targeting Maysles's expressive use of his digital camera, relatively with regards to the filming of the human determine, this booklet situates Maysles's motion pictures inside of not just documentary movie heritage yet movie heritage normally, arguing for his or her broad-ranging value to either narrative movie and documentary cinema. whole with an interesting interview with Maysles and an in depth comparability of the variation releases of his documentary at the Beatles (What's taking place: The Beatles within the U.S.A. and The Beatles: the 1st U.S. Visit), this paintings is a pivotal learn of an important filmmaker.

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Download e-book for kindle: Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney

Albert Maysles has created probably the most influential documentaries of the postwar interval. Such motion pictures as Salesman, Gimme take care of, and gray Gardens proceed to generate excessive debate concerning the ethics and aesthetics of the documentary shape. during this in-depth research, Joe McElhaney deals a unique realizing of the historic relevance of Maysles.

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Example text

Courtesy of Maysles Films, Inc. of the Maysles brothers’ approach was the relentless present-tenseness of the situations due to the spectator’s lack of access to the past lives of the characters: “‘You are stopped at the wall of skin’” (qtd. in Canby 10). Miller refers to our psychological distance from the characters, but his choice of words, “wall of skin,” also points to the literal flesh on display. Salesman, like much of Maysles, is very much a film about the human figure, albeit human figures encased within raincoats and inexpensive suits, or housewives whose heads are weighed down by enormous hair rollers.

The “religious” feeling about reality and the camera’s ability to record it and the use of the word “love” to describe his empathetic response to his subjects suggests a tie to Bazinian discourses on realism. Even Maysles’s belief in “the contemplation of things as they are” evokes a famous statement made by Rossellini, that exemplary filmmaker for André Bazin: “‘Things are there. ’” (qtd. in Gallagher 485). At the same time, as the history of cinema and indeed the history of realism in general have shown, an investment in the real invariably entails a fascination with its apparent polar opposite: the false, the artificial, the constructed, the unreal.

But in different ways this selling is also strongly tied to issues of performance in which selling becomes a form of theater. Of these three films about “hustling,” Salesman occupies an especially significant position. Released in 1969, it was not only officially the Maysles brothers’ first feature-length theatrical film; it was also an attempt to break into commercial channels of exhibition through their new brand of nonfiction cinema. But these ambitions would pose particular problems for the brothers in terms of the film’s reception.

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Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney


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