If you're interested in documentary films, you know two things:
1. Ben Steinbauer and his movie WINNEBAGO MAN are awesome.
2. The Maysles Brothers were among the greatest documentary filmmakers who ever lived, if not the greatest.
With this knowledge, it should be very easy for you get a ticket for Sunday night's Cinema Club presentation of SALESMAN - the landmark film from the Maysles Brothers as presented by Steinbauer. As is the tradition at the Cinema Club, we'll be showing this classic film and then having a rousing discussion about the film and any other crazy ideas we have.
Supposing you are not convinced yet (although you should be), please examine the evidence. SALESMAN is a masterpiece. Albert and David Maysles, the brothers/fathers of American cinéma vérité and the creative forces behind classics like GIMME SHELTER and GREY GARDENS, deserve to be worshipped. Their films re-invented documentary filmmaking, bringing to them a new approach and a new capacity for beauty. Through their development of the cinéma vérité style, these filmmakers managed to find intimacy and truth in a way that hadn't been done before in the movies, allowing their cameras to paint human life, love, and struggle in non-judgmental, genuine and profound ways.
SALESMAN follows four Bible salesmen from New England as they travel through low-income neighborhoods trying to sell holy texts to housewives. Somehow, cameraman Albert Maysles (who Jean-luc Godard once called "the best American cameraman") was able to follow these hucksters into the homes of their potential customers. What results is an outstanding presentation of America, framed by the trinity-concept of commerce, home-life, and religion.
It’s also a beautiful depiction of New England circa 1968. The voices, with those intoxicating Boston accents, are sublime sounds of a lost time; you’ll be swept into the past just by listening to the way people used to talk. The cities, littered with snow and traversed by hardy chevys and fords, present a picture of suburban life in the ‘60s that is often overlooked, the hard-working ordinary people who made the country function while the Hippies were trying to destroy it.
New York Times film critic Vincent Canby sums it up perfectly: "It's such a fine, pure picture of a small section of American life that I can't imagine its ever seeming irrelevant, either as a social document or as one of the best examples of what's called cinema vérité or direct cinema...It is fact, photographed and recorded with extraordinarily mobile camera and sound equipment, and then edited and carefully shaped into a kind of cinematic mural of faces, words, motel rooms, parlors, kitchens, streets, television images, radio music—even weather.”