D.A. Pennebaker: Monterey Pop

Well, it was a revisit to one of the best – some say the best – music festival documentary. And you are again totally seduced by the power of music and by the superb camera work performed by a team including Richard Leacock (photo), who was the producer together with Pennebaker and who has been subject to a now finished small mini-retrospective series at the Danish Cinemateket in Copemhagen. Close-up after close-up of the performing artists, of the spectators, images of the ambience at the festival and sometimes almost abstract images, sometimes psychedelic, a play with light and shadow, when Leacock and his colleagues move around with their handheld cameras trying to convey to us ”the sense of being there”, as the old master said. What is to be mentioned… Jimi Hendrix setting fire to his guitar, the Who smashing guitars, Janis Joplin in a fantastic performance crying/shouting/singing her pain out, the well-behaved Simon & Garfunkel ”feeling groovy”, wonderful Grace Slick with her Jefferson Airplane, Otis Redding in magnificent silhouette images, Country Joe… and the grande finale with Ravi Shankar that is covered magnificently with shots of him and his two colleagues, mixed with reaction shots from an enthusiastic audience. Wow, a trip down memory lane, and one that still gives you goose bumps.

You can watch a lot of material on YouTube, but you could also buy a dvd of this classic. Do the latter! Google the many places where it can be bought.

USA, 1968, 98 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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