Albert Maysles, Documentary Pioneer, passes away at 88

Albert Maysles, Documentary Pioneer, passes away at 88

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The legendary documentary maker who immortalized The Rolling Stones’ 1969 concert passed away on Friday.

Albert Maysles who was nicknamed the dean of documentaries and is known for several films over his career has passed away. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer said Erikay Dilday, who is an executive director at the Maysles Institute, in a Facebook post.

Albert and his brother were known to capture their subjects without reference to any interviews, sets, scripts or narration. Albert started his work in 1955 when he captured some moments from inside a Soviet Union’s psychiatric hospital.

After his first work that was more popularly known as Psychiatry in Russia, his career started and he and his brother went on to make history. They are known as the most important figures of 20th Century American Film.

One of their most outstanding projects included the ill-fated Rolling Stones concert at Altamont in California. Gimme Shelter was also one of their popular films and it was shot in 1970. Gimme Shelter captured the tragic events which saw four fans die. They also made some controversial movies like Grey Gardens in 1975.

Grey Gardens was about Edith Bouvier and Edith Bouvier Beale who are cousins of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The film was shot on their life in a decaying East Hampton mansion. Many said that the film was exploitative but it won a musical award.

Maysles was often criticized of the way in which he made his documentaries. In 2007 in an interview he said that it is a pity that more people aren’t making documentaries based on the truth. Alfred Hitchcock once said in a feature film that the director is a god.

Albert said that it disturbed him when other directors say that documentaries are fictional reality. He said that a documentary can give us the knowledge of the real world. Albert believed that if you’re not giving the people the truth, then it’s not real knowledge.


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