A pioneering filmmaker who created some of the most iconic documents of the 1960s has died. Rolling Stone reports that Albert Maysles died Thursday night after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 88.
Along with his brother David, Maysles revolutionized documentary filmmaking as a pioneer of the use of cinema verite.
“Gimme Shelter,” the Maysles brothers’ account of the Rolling Stones’ disastrous 1969 concert at Altamont, is considered one of the greatest rock documentaries of all time.
“The brothers began their career in the early 1960s helming films about movie executive Joe Levine (‘Showman’) and Orson Welles (‘Orson Welles in Spain’) before documenting the Beatles’ debut trip to the United States in ‘The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit,'” Rolling Stone reports.
“But it was … 1968’s ‘Salesman,’ the story of door-to-door Bible salesmen canvassing Boston and Florida, that gave the duo their first classic. Building off the cinematic style of Jean Rouch and Dziga Vertov, ‘Salesman’ pioneered cinema verite, the observational strain of documentary filmmaking that eschews narrative voiceover in favor of fly-on-the-wall, non-judgmental spectating.”
“Gimme Shelter” documented the Stones’ free concert at the Altamont Speedway, and when things went bad, caught the killing of a teenage fan, Meredith Hunter, by the Hells Angels. The movie “became an epitaph for the optimistic, late-Sixties movement,” Rolling Stone notes.
Here’s an interview with Albert Maysles by Christina Haskin: