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Gimme Shelter

Director: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin


Most people consider Dec. 6, 1969 the day the 60s died.
It was the date of the Rolling Stones’ infamous free concert at Altamont Speedway in front of an estimated 300,000 fans. Concerned over security, the band hired members of the Hells Angels, who, with lead pool cues and meaty fists, only served to escalate the tension and ultimately the violence.
When the show was over, four people were dead — including one stabbed to death by an Angel — and so was the notion that an entire generation could come together and conquer the world with peace and love.
The acclaimed, newly remastered documentary Gimme Shelter directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, was originally intended to merely follow the Stones on their U.S. tour to support the Let It Bleed album, and consequently features a number of stellar live performances of the band (not to mention a performance by Tina Turner and her microphone that is perhaps the most erotic thing captured on film). But when the events at Altamont transpired, the music and even the band, really,
became simply part of the larger story — a raw and gritty soundtrack to the story, and tragic figures in its telling, respectively. It’s incredible how the filmmakers consciously switched out of the passive observers mode by having, all throughout the film, scenes of the Stones in the editing room, watching footage leading up to the tragedy and then the stabbing itself. Maybe it is manipulative – Gimme Shelter was
denounced as a snuff film by some critics upon its initial release — but it’s also unforgettable and makes for truly compelling filmmaking.
(1970. USA. Colour. 35mm. 90 mins.)
Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

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