Thursday, June 7, 2007

Gimme Shelter (1970)

Directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin. Starring The Rolling Stones.

The late 1960s are a time that is often romanticized by popular culture, a "time of peace, love and understanding", and the like, but this film holds up a mirror to that time, showing that despite the period's lofty aspirations human behavior never really changes- there will always be people who feel the need to make jerks of themselves. Much of the film is devoted to planning a free Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway, but the planning is hasty and careless, and unlike Woodstock the concert doesn't go well. Most notably, the Hell's Angels who were commissioned to work as security ended up stabbing a concertgoer to death, but this was far from being the only act of violence seen in the film. The film's bleak view of human behavior is at a sharp contrast to the nostalgia we often see for the 60s, and by the end of the film when we see the concergoers packing up and going home it's almost like we're witnessing the Age of Aquarius packing it in.

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