Charlotte Zwerin

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Charlotte Zwerin
Born

August 15, 1931

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died January 22, 2004 (aged 72)
Cause of death Lung Cancer
Nationality American
Occupation Editor, director

Charlotte Zwerin (born Charlotte Mitchell, August 15, 1931 – January 22, 2004) was an American documentary film director and editor known for her work concerning artists and musicians. However, she is most known for her editing contributions to the direct cinema and cinéma vérité documentaries Salesman (1969), Gimme Shelter (1970) and Running Fence (1978) in which she was given co-director credits along with the two cinéma vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Charlotte Zwerin grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She studied at Wayne State University and established a film club there which sparked her interest in documentary filmmaking.[3] After this, she moved to New York City and found a job with Drew Associates who were the pioneers of direct cinema in the United States.[4] Here, she met and began to work with Albert and David Maysles.[4] Zwerin went on to edit and co-direct two of the canonical cinéma vérité documentaries with the Maysles brothers: Salesman and Gimme Shelter.[5] Zwerin died of lung cancer in January 2004, at the age of 72.[6]

Career[edit]

Charlotte Zwerin was an editor who worked on some of the canonical films of the cinéma vérité mode of documentary practice including, Salesman and Gimme Shelter. Salesman is concerned with following door-to-door Bible salesmen as they attempt to sell the greatest “best seller in the world.” Interestingly, at first, most viewers are appalled at the Bible-hustling, but soon begin to feel sympathy for these salesmen, particularly for one: Paul, who is the least successful salesman.[7] Gimme Shelter monitors the tremendously famous London rock band, The Rolling Stones, during their 1969 tour which culminated in the deadly Altamont Free Concert. The film has gained a great deal of both notoriety and infamy for portraying a stabbing which resulted in a man's death, Meredith Hunter, at the hands of the Hell's Angels, who were working as security for the concert.[8]

As well, Zwerin directed several other documentaries with subjects such as Thelonious Monk, "the brilliant and eccentric jazz pianist", the Armenian abstract painter Arshile Gorky, and the magnificent Ella Fitzgerald, among many others.[9] Her last editing project was as Story Consultant on the 2003 documentary film West 47th Street.[10]

Charlotte Zwerin's work is often described as following the French documentary style of representation known as cinéma vérité. However, at the same time, her work is emblematic of the direct cinema style.[citation needed]

Filmography[11][edit]

Salesman (1969)

Gimme Shelter (1970)

Running Fence (1978)

De Kooning on de Kooning (1981)

Islands (1987)

Horowitz Plays Mozart (1987)

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser (1989)

Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu (1994)

Sculpture of Spaces: Noguchi (1995)

Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For (1999)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barnouw, Eric (1993). Documentary: A History of Non-Fiction Film. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 241. 
  2. ^ Nichols, Bill (2010). Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 33. 
  3. ^ Jenkins, Todd (2004). "Documentary Filmmaker (Monk, Ella, Stones, Frost)". Jazz House. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Charlotte Zwerin: Some Remarkable Talents | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  5. ^ Nichols, Bill (2010). Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 133. 
  6. ^ White, Tom (May 2004). "Charlotte Zwerin: 1931-2004". International Documentary Association. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  7. ^ Barnouw, Eric (1993). Documentary: A History of Non-Fiction Film. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 244. 
  8. ^ Nichols, Bill (2010). Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 173. 
  9. ^ Martin, Douglas (January 27, 2004). "Charlotte Zwerin, 72, Maker of Documentaries on Artists". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  10. ^ http://www.pbs.org/pov/west47thstreet/credits.php PBS P.O.V. West 47th Street
  11. ^ White, Tom (May 2004). "Charlotte Zwerin: 1931-2004". International Documentary Association. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 

External links[edit]