The film world lost an absolute giant last night when documentarian Albert Maysles passed away at the age of 88. Maysles started making films back in 1955 with the short film Psychiatry in Russia. He frequently collaborated with his brother David and together they created some of the most iconic documentaries of all-time, among them Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens and The Beales of Grey Gardens and the seminal Salesman. A fair amount of his work was dedicated to covering music, film and art, most notably his series of films on artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Albert Maysles was an American treasure and I am considerably thankful that I had the opportunity to meet him and see him introduce Gimme Shelter at the Indiana University Cinema a couple of years ago, an experience I won’t soon forget.
Rest in peace, Al. Your films gave us a up close and personal look at the human condition in its rawest sense.
Here’s Al‘s TEDx talk on The Gift of Documentary: