Starting today, Film Forum in New York is hosting The Maysles & Co., a comprehensive two-week long retrospective of the work of the legendary “Direct Cinema” documentarians Albert and David Maysles—best known for Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1976)—and their various collaborators, most especially Charlotte Zwerin.
Grey Gardens, a film whose title has entered the lingua franca, is the only documentary ever to be turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical, an Emmy-winning TV dramatization, and an SNL-alumni parody, but its poster, a simple framing of a photograph by Herb Goro, doesn’t really do the film justice. Gimme Shelter, on the other hand—the Maysles’ biggest international success—has inspired a wide variety of designs. For me, the stand-out is the stark black and white one sheet with all-Helvetica type, the first one featured below.
Two of my favorite Maysles posters, aside from Henry Wolf’s wry, iconographic poster for Salesman, are for Albert Maysles two final films, both released after he died a year ago: the baroque, near-psychedelic portrait of Iris, and the blurry, elegiac window shots of In Transit (a film I urge everyone to see).
Postscript: Film Forum just came across this wonderful photo of David and Albert in front of a wall of Salesman posters: