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Review: “Summer of Soul” may be the best document of the year for Harlem Woodstock Furlin Manuel Miranda in New York

In the summer of 1969 Woodstock Some of the biggest musical acts of the time, Stevie wonder BB King, Nina Simone Sly & The Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, and The 5th Dimension were all performed at Mount Morris Park in New York.

Woodstock was immortal.TheĀ· Harem The school festival has been forgotten. But the event sheds new light on the must-see documentary “Summer of Soul (… or when the revolution couldn’t be aired).”

During the six-week weekend course, about 300,000 people passed through what is now Marcus Garvey Park, monitored Marquee’s name on schedule, and the Black Panther Party provided security. The free summer concert series, inspired by born promoter Tony Lawrence, was sponsored by Maxwell Coffee and featured in local news. General Foods even had the foresight to hire TV veteran Hal Tarchin and ask someone to shoot the festival. The money was so short that they headed to the west stage to save on lighting.

Eventually, Tulchin, who died in 2017, accumulated about 40 hours of footage of performances, crowds, political speeches, and comedy acts. Even with the new nickname “Blackwood Stock,” he sat in an almost invisible basement for fifty years after failing to sell or do anything. That’s until Armir “Questlove” Thompson shatters it. It is a strong candidate for the best documentary of the year.

In “Summer of Soul,” Questlove has accomplished a phenomenal feat, making these endless time images more than just exciting concert films, but an elegant and essential history of some of the most powerful moments in history. Change to a document. It’s sometimes festive, sometimes critical, and completely fascinating. And it’s Questlove’s first movie, but you’ll never know it.

It’s amazing how much information and music is packed in these two hours. The film features different musical styles of the moment, how artists such as Stevie Wonder and David Raffin evolved, the diversity of Harlem itself, the influence of Puerto Rico (with commentary from Limmanuel Miranda), and the community. Sectors (including emotional Marilyn McCoo talking about criticism that The 5th Dimension has a “white sound” and local and national socio-political contexts, and somehow shortened There is nothing that feels like it is.

Questlove and editor Joshua L. Pearson knows when to deliver full performance as well as clips for ultimate impact. There is a reason why Nina Simone and “Backlash Blues” are saved last.

Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples show off “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” and Edwin Hawkins Singers show off “O Happy Day”. Shots of spectators of all ages. Vibrant fashion, incredible faces, excitement, boredom, and humanity are packed into every frame.

The question of why this critical event is not so well known is raised in every frame. There is an answer at the end, but be careful. I’m not satisfied. If there’s anything wrong with the “Summer of Soul”, it means that it wasn’t cross-examined anymore. But movies are probably wise not to stick to that fact. Instead, it corrects the mistake and gives this festival a long postponed moment in the sun.

Played in theaters by Searchlight Pictures and streamed on Hulu on Friday in the United States, “Summer of Soul” is PG-13 with “Unpleasant Images, Smoking, and Easy Drug Materials” from the American Film Association. It is being evaluated. Execution time: 117 minutes. 4 out of 4 stars.


PG-13 MPAA Definition: Parents strongly warned. Some materials may be suitable for children under the age of 13.


Follow Lindsey Bahr on Twitter for AP film writer:

Review: “Summer of Soul” may be the best document of the year for Harlem Woodstock Furlin Manuel Miranda in New York

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