Sunday, July 3, 2011

Film Journal: Monterey Pop (1968, D.A. Pennebaker)



Director D.A. Pennebaker's (Don't Look Back) documentary about the 1967 Monterey Pop Music Festival is a true snapshot of the hippie culture.  Not only is the music of the subculture heavily featured but Pennebaker also spends just as much time focusing his camera on the people in the audience as they groove along to the various music acts while looking like "cliche hippies."  It's a pretty incredible portrait of this long gone generation, but it also is a mixed bag for me.

I simply don't get a lot of these music acts and Pennebaker's camera does not cut away for minutes at a time as these abstract rock bands jam out for minutes and minutes to no end.  This makes a certain performance go from cool, to interesting, to boring quickly.  I could tolerate this a little bit, but when I am on minute 7 of a 10 minute sitar solo I start to want to check my watch.

Having said that, some of these performances are absolutely incredible to watch.  The two performances that really stand out for me are Janis Joplin and Ottis Redding's performances.  It's easy to see why both musicians are now considered legends after you see how much they really stand out next to such big name acts like The Who or even Jimi Hendrix.


Speaking of Hendrix - it's also really cool to finally see his iconic performance of Wild Thing where he ends the song by burning his guitar before smashing it to pieces in context.  There really is a unique presence when he is on screen.


Rating: B

14 comments:

  1. nice post man keep them coming!

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  2. I'm not hippie or anything, but this documentary looks pretty good. Will check it out sometime

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  3. nice post, nice infomation
    +followed

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  4. I'll check it out, been reading about the sixties for class.

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  5. Nice post, thanks guy!
    Have a nice day.
    +Follow

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  6. Wow, looks interesting. Especially the Hendrix part. Followed!

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  7. I had no idea that's where the iconic photo of Hendrix came from. Great post.

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  8. That's an awesome picture of Hendrix; flaming guitar, playing with teeth, god he's awesome!

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  9. Thanks for shedding some light onto something I have wondered about for years! (Hendrix)

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  10. That was actually a really in depth post. Glad I decided to follow you!

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