Albert Maysles at the 52nd New York Film Festival. Photo by Godlis.
In honor of Albert Maysles, we're re-posting the press conference he and subject Iris Apfel participated in during the 52nd New York Film Festival, where their feature, Iris, had its World Premiere.
The acclaimed co-director of classic nonfiction films Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, Salesman, and so many more died Thursday at 88. Grey Gardens (co-directed with his brother, the late David Maysles) premiered at the 13th New York Film Festival in 1975. The legendary documentary about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's aunt and cousin Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale was recently restored via the Criterion Collection and is opening in New York this week.
In addition to the premiere of Iris, the Film Society screened his 1968 film Salesman at his neighborhood Maysles Cinema as part of NYFF Opening Acts prior to the festival's opening. Following the premiere of Iris, Maysles later did an extended on-stage discussion with NYFF Festival Director Kent Jones as part of the Film Society's ongoing Free Talks series. The Film Society's podcast, The Close-Up, will feature that talk in a special edition next week. But for now, take a look at the NYFF52 Q&A with Maysles and Iris Apfel below…
Maysles Films' description of Iris:
Iris pairs legendary 87-year-old documentarian Albert Maysles with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even in Iris' dotage, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. Iris portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life's sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. “I feel lucky to be working. If you're lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”
Albert Maysles on making documentaries, as quoted from the Maysles Films website:
“As a documentarian I happily place my fate and faith in reality. It is my caretaker, the provider of subjects, themes, experiences—all endowed with the power of truth and the romance of discovery. And the closer I adhere to reality the more honest and authentic my tales. After all, the knowledge of the real world is exactly what we need to better understand and therefore possibly to love one another. It’s my way of making the world a better place.”