Download Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney 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 motion pictures as Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens proceed to generate extreme debate concerning the ethics and aesthetics of the documentary shape. during this in-depth examine, Joe McElhaney bargains a singular knowing of the ancient relevance of Maysles. via heavily concentrating on Maysles's expressive use of his digital camera, really relating to the filming of the human determine, this booklet situates Maysles's movies inside of not just documentary movie background yet movie background in most cases, arguing for his or her broad-ranging significance 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 examine of an important filmmaker.

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Extra resources for Albert Maysles

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Maysles has said that he keeps his camera on his shoulder continuously while filming so that his subjects lose any sense of when it is running and when it is not. indd 29 Works of Art and Factual Material | 29 1/12/09 4:05:33 PM the camera and to “get them right back into their own real life” (Stubbs 31). The documentary filmmaker in such instances, while not working with a screenplay that predetermines action, still functions as a type of psychologist—gauging, controlling, and responding to behavior as it develops in front of the camera.

At the time of their initial release, the films had a distinctive look and sound, capturing accents, vernacular, and dialect. As Marcorelles writes, “For the first time in history speech can move, breathe, be seen, take up space” (Living Cinema 15). In referring to early Maysles films, he describes how “[l]anguage becomes an exciting mixture of expressions, flung out spontaneously; and it confirms the fact that there has been a revolution in sound” (63). It is not simply spontaneity through language, though, that is achieved in Maysles; there is also an enormous desire to engage with other cultures, using language as a fundamental way in which two seemingly different cultures can communicate with one another even if, as some of the films demonstrate, this desired connection is extremely difficult if not impossible to achieve.

This has been argued on numerous occasions but most often from a position that seeks to either discredit or at least to seriously call into question some of the assumptions behind direct cinema. An example of the latter is Jeanne Hall’s important essay on Primary. While conceding the film’s historical centrality, Hall draws attention to a number of elements in the film that contradict the stated intentions of its makers to offer an unmediated access to the real. Hall notes that the film (like some of Drew’s other films of this period) violates a number of the explicit terms of direct cinema in its use of voiceover narration and musical underscoring, its fairly obvious rhetorical elements, its use of interviews and even partially fictionalized moments (such as the voices of hypothetical voters being played on the soundtrack over a montage of the feet of various Wisconsinites standing in voting booths), and the sometimes clear physical presence of the filmmakers.

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Albert Maysles by Joe McElhaney


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