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.