Joe McElhaney's Albert Maysles PDF

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 excessive debate concerning the ethics and aesthetics of the documentary shape. during this in-depth learn, Joe McElhaney deals a singular knowing of the ancient relevance of Maysles. via heavily concentrating on Maysles's expressive use of his digital camera, fairly when it comes to the filming of the human determine, this ebook situates Maysles's motion pictures inside not just documentary movie historical past 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 a close 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 examine of an important filmmaker.

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Far from gaining nothing in being a camera subject, for Maysles being filmed is a type of therapy in which one feels better about oneself afterward, since being filmed is recognition. “I’m all for filming incompetent people,” Maysles told Pryluck. “They’re the ones who need it the most” (Pryluck, “Seeking” 12). In Shirley Clarke’s film Portrait of Jason (1967), Clarke’s subject, Jason Holliday, states this position from the point of view of the subject rather than the filmmaker: “You know, it’s a funny feelin’ having a picture made about you.

One can find such a structure even in a comparatively minor Maysles film such as Accent on the Offbeat (1994, in collaboration with Froemke and Dickson), detailing the production of a ballet staged by Peter Martins to a score by Wynton Marsalis. The film is shaped by a set of schematic conflicts and oppositions: between the jazz world of Marsalis and the ballet world of Martins; between the world of popular culture and the world of “elite” culture; between music and dance; between black culture and white culture.

Rather than fulfilling the utopian fantasies of the prewar period and allowing for greater freedom and flexibility in work, the developments in industrialization after the war frustrated and limited economic satisfaction for the worker who, most often laboring within politically conservative or repressive regimes, felt trapped. “I think the tragedy of our times is that hardly anyone chooses his job,” says one of the subjects of Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer (1961). ” Within the school of direct cinema, Wiseman has treated the subject of work the most extensively, situating it within corporations and institutions in which workers find themselves absorbed into a structure where resistance is presented as a virtual impossibility.

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Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney


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