From Elizabeth Weitzman‘s Tribeca Film Festival Wrap review, posted on 5.1.19: “How do you follow one of the most critically acclaimed rock docs of all time? Michael Wadleigh’s seminal 1970 documentary Woodstock was immersive and electric — a definitive, you-are-there experience rather than a here’s-what-happened chronicle.
“Despite its ambitious title, Barak Goodman‘s Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation is [merely] a here’s-what happened chronicle.
“It’s curious that the filmmakers don’t try to mine a perspective beyond nostalgia. The lack of context [feels] like a lost opportunity, particularly since many of the seeds of our current culture were planted 50 years ago at Max Yasgur’s farm. (And also because promoters with far greater resources don’t yet seem able to pull off an anniversary event in 2019.)
“Speaking of those long-haired, muddy, barely-clothed kids: The youngest of them is now nearing 70, and there’s an undeniable poignancy to seeing beautiful teens and twentysomethings while hearing their much older selves look back with an almost aching wistfulness.
But while there’s a lot of talk about how moved they were by their experience at Woodstock, there are few attempts to dig deeper. What happened after they went home? Were they inspired in any concrete ways? Or haunted by a communal high that would have been impossible to reach again?
“The original Woodstock remains the standard, by any definition. But this is likely to be an eye-opening primer for anyone who can’t imagine their grandparents looking like proto-Coachella fans — and a welcome reminder for those grandparents themselves.”
To celebrate/exploit the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, Warner Home Video released a two-disc Woodstock Bluray on 6.9.09. Hollywood Elsewhere wrote extensively about this, took part in the Manhattan junket, sank into the Bluray extras, etc.
That was a full decade ago, but I’m still feeling a little Woodstock-ed out, and therefore less than fully enthused.
Goodman’s doc is being released theatrically on 5.24 in New York, and 6.7 in Los Angeles. It will subsequently screen on PBS.