A documentary revolution

Mick Jagger

The Maysles brothers—Albert and David (1932-1987)—revolutionized documentary filmmaking with their practice of setting up the cameras and letting the story tell itself instead of imposing a narrative, an approach that came to be known as “direct cinema.”

Tonight and tomorrow, Film @ International House pays tribute to the Maysleses with screenings of three of their early films: “Salesman” (1969), an unsparing portrait of the lives of four traveling Bible salesmen; “What’s Happening! The Beatles in America” (1964), which captured the first shots fired in the British Invasion; and “Gimme Shelter” (1970, see photo), their highly praised, disturbing chronicle of the Rolling Stones’ 1969 U.S. tour. Albert Maysles will be on hand to introduce “Gimme Shelter” at Friday’s screening.

—S.S.

- THE FILMS OF ALBERT AND DAVID MAYSLES: “Salesman” Thursday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. and “What’s Happening! The Beatles in America”/”Gimme Shelter” Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. at International House, 3701 Chestnut St. Tickets for each night’s screening $5, available on a first-come, first-served basis one hour before show time. Info: www.ihousephilly.org or 215-895-6542.

Originally published on January 24, 2002