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Week of May 25, 2005

Gimme Shelter (with Grey Gardens). (Not Rated) Infamous primarily for the murder committed by the Hell's Angels "security team," the 1969 free concert at Altamont Speedway involved more than tragic melees. Maysles' Gimme Shelter catches the Rolling Stones' unguarded moments offstage as well as thrilling footage of Tina Turner, Jefferson Airplane, and others performing for 300,000 screaming fans. Intimate scenes provide exceptional moments of painful candor at a watershed moment in a disenchanted America. Focused on less-public but equally unusual individuals, the tastefully rendered Grey Gardens finds Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Aunt Edith and cousin Edie clearly unhinged, with few visitors to their dilapidated home. Through direct address to the camera, they squabble as cats roam the house and raccoons the attic. The cumulative impact of Edie dancing, singing and sunbathing and of Edith and Edie reminiscing over old photographs is poignant and unsettling. Gimme Shelter screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28, followed by a Q&A with Albert Maysles. Grey Gardens screens at 9:15 p.m. in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)

LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton. (Not Rated) As LaLee Wallace cooks and cares for several of her 38 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, West Tallahatchie school principal Reggie Barnes struggles to get the local school off probation. Both situations reflect the legacy of slavery and the poverty still crushing the Mississippi Delta area. Denied formal education, LaLee picked cotton -- a job now performed by machines -- throughout her formative years. Maysles and the film editors, to whom he always gives directorial credit in his collaborative endeavors, present the heart-wrenching conditions with calm, careful scrutiny that reveals and informs. Screens at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, May 29, preceded by Christo in Paris at 7 p.m. in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Carson)

Salesman. (Not Rated) Door-to-door salesmen themselves during high school, the Maysles brothers knew intimately the emotional roller coaster of the four Boston-based, traveling Bible salesmen so perfectly captured in their landmark 1968 Salesman. The primary focus, Paul Brennan, called "The Badger," becomes a virtual Willy Loman as his prospects crash. As Albert Maysles noted in our recent interview, his inspiration for inventing the nonfiction feature film was Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1966). Anti-Semitism in his childhood in Boston provided the second stimulus. In Maysles' words, it's "a matter of finally making friends since oftentimes the best work comes from early memories." Salesman depicts the psychological complexity of the sales environment with immediacy and insight. The 28-minute Meet Marlon Brando will follow Salesman. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, May 27, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Carson)

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