Anatomy of the Filmmaker: Varda, the Maysles, Blank and Timoner


‘The Gleaners and I’

[Editor’s note: We republish this graphic art take on directors as we publish a thematic group of films from Criterion Collection via Hulu on “Filmmakers at Work,” featuring films by Les Blank (below) as well as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Stig Björkman, Abbas Kiarostami and others.]

This “Anatomy of the Filmmaker” series was an idea originally hatched as an online column for The Non-Fiction Cartel—a Boston-based documentary collaborative of which I am a proud member. I used this forum, and this structure, as an opportunity to spend some quality time with documentary filmmakers that I admire or those I wanted to get to know better. Quality time, in this sense, not only means watching the filmmakers’ bodies of work, but also researching their philosophies, approaches and technologies used. As a filmmaker myself, I’m a visual person and learner, but information has always been most appealing to me when broken down in a clear, concise way. I love the colors and lines on maps and diagrams. I like to see what things are called, what they’re made of. “Anatomy of the Filmmaker” is how I map where documentary has been—and where it is going—one artist at a time. These filmmakers, in my mind, are the heroes, the veterans, the celebrities of our little documentary world. At times, they seem almost mythical and out of reach, but through this series I intend to underline their relationship to each of us who have chosen to pursue this wonderfully crazy career of documentary film.

I. The Maysles Brothers: Albert and David


II. Les Blank


III. Ondi Timoner


IV. Agnès Varda

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