“Gimme Shelter” is directed by Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin.

The Maysles Brothers document the 1969 Rollin’ Stones tour across USA, with clips from the planning of the Altamont concert and the shocking conclusion.

This film was released in 1970, but I’ve never seen it before, somethings, I guess have to wait for the right moment to see them. For me, the right moment was a showing at the Bloor Cinema on Saturday afternoon.

This movie was pure documentary – there wasn’t anyone trying to prove a point or editorializing, just the captured moments on film. And it is…powerful.

I love how the film just starts, without a set-up or introduction and there is this moment where it pulls back and you see the band watching the footage and making comments about it and what they think. It gives a feel of completely accessibility and intimacy with the band, that today, is impossible.

Live concert footage from venues pre-Altamont is interwoven with tense planning sessions and logistical meetings for the last concert. The thing about the movie is, at this point in time, we know someone at Altamont is stabbed, we understand that the movie is hurtling towards death of someone in the crowd, but we don’t know who or when or even if we will see it on film.

One of the most intense scenes of the movie is Tina Turner’s performance which is sexy…ok, beyond sexy, I mean, she basically has oral sex with the microphone, and this was so very bizarre for me to see, ‘cuz by the 80s, when I was around to know her, she was all legs. But, whoa, Tina, that was pretty steamy stuff.

The conclusion of the film, too, is quite intense, the reason and the reaction leading up to the stabbing are both caught on film and Mick Jagger’s voice breaks in and asks that the film be reverse and replayed, it is and the directors point out both the gun and the knife.

No conclusions are made and blame is not placed.

I should also tell you that this film effectively destroyed my understanding of 60s counter-culture. I thought that the 60s were this time of enlightenment and understanding and increased consciousness – peace and love and what not. The concert showed a lot of people freaking out in very bad ways, a lot of questionable nudity and so much gross and muck. It was all around weirdness.

But, this film is a must-see for music lovers, documentary film lovers and people who want to know something about something.

Must go see.

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