Gimme Shelter: Cautionary Tale or Blueprint for a Punk Carnival?
Gimme Shelter (Maysles, Maysles, and Zwerin 1970), which documents The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour, is widely regarded as the last of the 1960s rockumentaries. Paradoxically, its chaotic final scenes at the band’s Altamont concert would also unwittingly provide a blueprint for the ‘punkumentary’, a subgenre of films that expressed punk’s revolt against mainstream rock culture at the end of the 1970s. Drawing upon the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, I wish to describe how the punkumentary’s subversion of the rock documentary hinged upon its aesthetic embrace of the very carnivalesque and anti-chronotopic elements, which had torn apart the 1960s counterculture’s utopian dream in Gimme Shelter’s Altamont scenes. In this respect, the punkumentaries destabilise the normative time-space associated with the rock documentary. Moreover, as an aesthetic and political expression of the very phenomenon they document, their subversion of the rock documentary is explicitly embodied.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1984. Rabelais and His World. Translated by Helene Iswolsky, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist, Austin: University of Texas Press.
Beattie, Keith. 2005. “It’s Not Only Rock and Roll: “Rockumentary,” Direct Cinema, and Performative Display.” Australasian Journal of American Studies 24 (2): 21-41. Accessed August 19, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41053984
D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage. Directed by Lech Kowalski. USA: Lightning Video, 1980. VHS.
Dont Look Back. Directed by D. A. Pennebaker. 1967. USA: Medium Inc., 1999. DVD.
Gimme Shelter. Directed by Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin. 1970. USA: Home Vision Cinema/Janus Films, 2000. DVD.
Grossberg, Lawrence. 1984. “Another Boring Day in Paradise: Rock and Roll and the Empowerment of Everyday Life.” Popular Music 4: 225-258. Accessed August 12, 2014. doi:10.1017/S0261143000006243
Hebdige, Dick. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen.
Morson, Gary S., and Caryl Emerson. 1990. Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Monterey Pop. Directed by D. A. Pennebaker. 1968. USA: Criterion, 2006. DVD.
Romney, Jonathan. 1995. “Access All Areas: the Real Space of the Rock Documentary.” In Celluloid Jukebox: Popular Music and the Movies Since the 1950s, edited by Jonathan Romney and A Wilson, 82-94. London: BFI Publishing.
Sobchack, Vivian. 1998. ‘Lounge Time: Postwar Crises and the Chronotope of Film Noir.’ In Refiguring American Film Genres: History and Theory, edited by Nick Browne, 129-70. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Sobchack, Vivian. 1992. The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Svendson, Lars. 2005. A Philosophy of Boredom. Translated by John Irons. London: Reaktion Books.
The Decline of Western Civilization. Directed by Penelope Spheeris. USA: Media Home Entertainment, 1981, VHS.
The Filth and the Fury. Directed by Julian Temple. UK: FilmFour, 2000. DVD.
The Last Waltz. Directed by Martin Scorcese. 1978. USA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2007. DVD.
The Punk Rock Movie. Directed by Don Letts. UK: Notting Hill, 1978. VHS.
The Song Remains the Same. Directed by Peter Clifton and Joe Massot. 1976. UK: Warner Home Video, 2007. DVD.
Thompson, Stacy. 2004. “Punk Cinema.” Cinema Journal 43 (2): 47-66. Accessed September 16, 2011. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cinema.journal/v043/43.2thompson.html
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music. Directed by Michael Wadleigh. 1970. USA: Warner Home Video, 1994. DVD.
- There are currently no refbacks.