I would have gone this way myself if I were running the marketing for Ang Lee‘s Taking Woodstock (Focus Features). Who wouldn’t? A no-brainer. The film’s 8.14.09 opening, of course, marks the precise 40th anniversary of the opening day of the Woodstock Music Festival, which ran from Friday, 8.15.69 to Sunday, 8.17.69.
Nobody on my side of the fence knows for sure if Taking Woodstock will go to Cannes. It won’t open for another five months, after all. But given the recent buildup with the trailer and poster I’d be stunned if it doesn’t play there.
I love this paragraph from the festival’s Wikipedia page about the anti-youth-culture attitude of the N.Y. Times editors of the day, and their determination to paint the festival in negative terrms. Hooray for Barnard Collier!
“As the only reporter at Woodstock for the first 36 hours or so, Barnard Collier of the New York Times was almost continually pressed by his editors in New York to make the story about the immense traffic jams, the less-than-sanitary conditions, the rampant drug use, the lack of ‘proper policing’, and the presumed dangerousness of so many young people congregating.
“Collier recalls: ‘Every major Times editor up to and including executive editor James Reston insisted that the tenor of the story must be a social catastrophe in the making. It was difficult to persuade them that the relative lack of serious mischief and the fascinating cooperation, caring and politeness among so many people was the significant point. I had to resort to refusing to write the story unless it reflected to a great extent my on-the-scene conviction that ‘peace’ and ‘love’ was the actual emphasis, not the preconceived opinions of Manhattan-bound editors.
“After many acrimonious telephone exchanges, the editors agreed to publish the story as I saw it, and although the nuts-and-bolts matters of gridlock and minor lawbreaking were put close to the lead of the stories, the real flavor of the gathering was permitted to get across. After the first day’s Times story appeared on page 1, the event was widely recognized for the amazing and beautiful accident it was.”