『Peter Barakan’s Music Film Festival』
BILLIE(first showing in Japan)(2019, US)
A documentary about BILLIE Holiday, using audio material from interviews intended for a book which never came to fruition on account of the writer’s untimely death. Some rare footage of BILLIE singing live makes this a special event for her fans.
The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith(first showing in Japan)(2015, US)
This film tells the story of photographer Eugene Smith’s loft in New York’s flower district, where all kinds of jazz musicians came and went at will during the late 1950s to early 60s. Smith had masses of audio recordings which figure throughout the film, including Thelonious Monk rehearsing for his famed Town Hall concert.
An excellent documentary of the extraordinarily talented, but tragically doomed AMY Winehouse, with much behind the scenes footage.
Jazz On A Summer’s Day(1959, US)
The now legendary film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, shot by photographer Bert Stern. Performances by Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, Mahalia Jackson and many more, together with great close-ups of the audience, make this a classic. This is a digitally restored 4K version.
20 Feet From Stardom(2013, US)
A documentary featuring the mainly African American female singers who became legendary in music circles for their work backing up rock stars, both in the recording studio and live. Darlene Love, famous for her work with Phil Spector, and Merry Clayton, who was woken from her bed to go out in the middle of the night to sing that spine-tingling part on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” are just two of the great women who deserve more recognition.
Our Latin Thing(1972, US)
This film centres on the concert by the Fania All Stars at New York’s Cheetah, a classic Salsa performance. Also features scenes of the inhabitants of Spanish Harlem in their daily lives. An extremely rare chance to see this exciting film on the big screen. Not to be missed!
This documentary looks at the contributions of Native American musicians to various periods and genres of American popular music, from Charley Patton’s delta blues to early jazz singer Mildred Bailey, esteemed guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, The Band’s Robbie Robertson et al. The title “Rumble” is from the Link Wray instrumental hit of 1958, revered by many guitar players as ground zero of heavy metal! An excellent film which also details the horrendous treatment of native people.
My Generation(2017, UK)
This documentary looks as the Swinging London of the mid 1960s from the point of view of young working-class people becoming cultural icons for the first time in British history. Hosted and narrated by Michael Caine, himself a born-and-bred cockney. Loads of period footage, and excellent of use of 60s music to comment on the content.
Small Island, Big Song(2019, Taiwan)
It is said that many of the Pacific islands were inhabited originally by seafaring folk who set out from Taiwan about 5,000 years ago. This film takes that theory and displays it musically, with stunning photography taking in Taiwan, New Zealand, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, and even Madagascar. Virtual collaborations between musicians from the various islands work surprisingly well, and the total effect is at times transcendental.
Northern Soul(2014, UK)
A coming-of-age movie set in the mid 1970s in the north of England, against the backdrop of the somewhat arcane Northern Soul scene, where northern teenagers would go out to all-night dances featuring DJs exclusively playing unknown soul records. Not a hit, but well acted, and a fascinating look at this cultish scene which still has devotees today.
Sketches Of Myahk(2011, Japan)
Myahk is how the people of Miyako-jima in Okinawa refer to their home. This low-key documentary focuses on the remaining few old women who sing the traditional spiritual songs that are unique to the island.
White Riot(2019, UK)
Rock Against Racism was a movement run by a few concerned individuals in 1970s Britain, to counter the rise of the neo-Nazi National Front with both white and black musicians contributing to a large outdoor concert, which looked like it might not even happen. Very well edited by a young director who wasn’t even born when the events took place, featuring the protagonists telling their own story.
Sumé – The Sound of a Revolution(2014, Greenland)
This is the story of Sumé, the first rock group in Greenland to sing in their native language, back in the 1970s, subsequently affecting the movement for autonomy from Denmark.
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