Libraries land new film, arts, and human-rights collection

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Give 'Em Shelter

The filmmaking brothers Albert and David Maysles helped to pioneer the direct cinema movement of the 1960s, which invested the documentary with new realism and intimacy. Their accomplishments were enabled by new technical innovations: lightweight 16mm cameras with portable synchronized sound that allowed the Maysles brothers to slip unobtrusively into people’s lives, as they did while making Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter, and Salesman.

Film historians can gain an intimate view of the Maysles brothers’ working methods in their archive, which Albert sold to Columbia in May. (David died in 1987.) Included are production files on completed and unrealized films, decades’ worth of correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, notes, and financial records. “With each passing year, it becomes more and more apparent that the documentary movement known as cinéma vérité or direct cinema revolutionized the way we see the world, and the relationship between filmmaker and filmed subject,” says film professor Richard Peña. “As Columbia expands its commitment to the scholarly study of film, original source materials such as the Maysles papers will prove an invaluable resource for students.”

 

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