Individual tickets for each film are $5. Full series passes are $50 and also confer membership to the Maysles Documentary Center.
In 1969 filmmaker brothers Albert and David Maysles set out to shoot a series of concerts by The Rolling Stones that culminated in their capturing one of the era’s most defining and consequential moments- the killing of a young Black man named Meredith Hunter by a Hells Angel during a free show at the Altamont Speedway in Tracy, California. GIMME SHELTER, the resulting film co-directed with Charlotte Zwerin, was released on December 6, 1970, and has since become a seminal cultural artifact in its own right. Epitomizing both the time period and the controversial immediacy of “direct cinema”- an observational style of filmmaking pioneered by the Maysles and Zwerin along with Robert Drew, D.A. Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman- it is arguably the most celebrated concert documentary in cinematic history.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the release of GIMME SHELTER, Maysles Documentary Center presents a series of films from the late 60’s and early 70’s that underscore the political, social, and cultural currents of the music and events depicted in the film. While popular culture has enshrined the Altamont incident as the end of a halcyon decade of love, Gimme 50 challenges this assertion by highlighting the context out of which this violence arose with a selection of contemporaneous works that emphasize and expand upon the Maysles’ indelible achievement.
Half a century later and side by side, these films trace the fissures of Altamont to a vast and decade-defining web of subcultural gatherings- of revelers, rioters, demonstrators, and artists- many of which converged at this final concert of the Stones’ 1969 US Tour. Together, they posit the Altamont murder not as an end to 60s culture, and not as an isolated incident of violence against Black people, but as a constant, inevitable, and systematic outcome of a decade marked by targeted political repression at home and war abroad.
Featuring a Pan-African dispatch by the legendary William Greaves, a spotlight on the blues music that fed The Stones’ sound (BLACK ROOTS), the interplay between the Civil Rights Movement (INTEGRATION REPORT 1, THE MARCH) and the Black Power movement’s militant response to its failures (PUPPET SHOW, MAYDAY), alongside other treasures of the era, this time capsule of alleged innocence and righteous indignation illuminates the racial violence depicted in GIMME SHELTER as a predictable marker of the period, very much in line with ours.