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In Transit

Albert Maysles, Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu, USA 2015, 76’

The Empire Builder train runs from Chicago to Seattle, linking the Eastern and Western United States via a nearly three-day trip. New passengers embark at each station and start up conversations in spite of themselves; they discuss their plans, share their dreams, and talk about frustrations to mold a menagerie of souls in suspended animation, for whom the journey is a moment of respite. Director Albert Maysles, the purveyor of direct cinema, avoids monotony by interweaving serious sequences with playful sections. The train's crew is cast in a special role akin to a Greek choir commenting the plot. The American documentary filmmaker and his crew imbue their cinematic observations with intimacy. Despite these formal devices, Maysles works to stay true to the method he honed over the years. Don't expect any auteur commentary or directorial interference - you get the world, such as it is. But is that actually possible? Eric Kohn wrote in IndieWire, "Maysles may never appear on camera but the feeling of his presence is palpable. (…) Magnifying ordinary people by turning their internal processes into objects of fascination, "In Transit" epitomizes the Maysles legacy" and isthe final film by the recently deceased acclaimed American documentary filmmaker.


Tribeca Film Festival 2015 – Special Jury Mention

Albert Maysles

He is one of the most important documentary filmmakers in the history of cinema. Along with his brother David, with whom he worked with for over 30 years, he is considered a pioneer and leading representative of the direct cinema movement. His creative philosophy, thoroughly implemented in his films, focuses on the attempt to objectively record reality without directorial intervention. Remember, as a documentarian you are an observer, an author but not a director, a discoverer, not a controller," he once said. Maysles received numerous prestigious awards and founded the Maysles Documentary Center. He passed away in March 2015.

Selected filmography

1968 Domokrążca / Salesman (doc.) (co-dir.)

1970 The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter / Gimme Shelter (doc.) (co-dir.)

1973 Christo's Valley Curtain (doc.) (co-dir.)

1975 Szare ogrody / Grey Gardens (doc.) (co-dir.)

2014 Iris (doc.)

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Cast & Crew

director Albert Maysles, Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu
screenplay Albert Maysles, Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu
cinematography Albert Maysles, David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu
editing Lynn True
producer Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Erika Dilday
production Maysles Documentary Center, True Walker Productions, Lost&Found Films
sales Lynn True
language English
coloration colour
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