Albert Maysles, the veteran documentarian whose titles (with his brother, David) include the hugely influential Grey Gardens (about eccentric mother and daughter shut-ins, Edith and “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale) and Gimme Shelter (the Rolling Stones’ Altamont concert film), has a new one premiering right now on SnagFilms.com.
Sally Gross: The Pleasure of Stillness is a beautifully observed portrait of the New York modern dance figure, a choreographer, now in her 70s, whose minimalist pieces have a simplicity and quietude that belies their emotional power.
In this hour-long film, Maysles and collaborator Kristen Nutile follow Gross as she teaches classes, works out the concept and cofigurations for a new dance, shares recollections about growing up on the Lower East Side (her first language was Yiddish) and walks and talks with friends and colleagues. There's a visit to the Noguchi Museum, with sculptures, strong and serene, that share the same sense of shape, place and time that are key components of Gross’ own work.
“I feel like I never grew up,” Gross says early in the film, reflecting on her long and storied artistic career. “I feel like this is who I am. I feel like that person.”