From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the struggles of workers, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote topical songs that engaged his audiences in the issues of the 1960s and 70s. In this ... See full summary »
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From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the struggles of workers, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote topical songs that engaged his audiences in the issues of the 1960s and 70s. In this biographical documentary, veteran director Kenneth Bowser shows how Phil's music and his fascinating life story and eventual decline into depression and suicide were intertwined with the history-making events that defined a generation. Even as his contemporaries moved into folk-rock and pop music, Phil followed his own vision, challenging himself and his listeners. Not one to pull punches, Ochs never achieved the commercial success he desperately desired. But his music remains relevant, reaching new audiences in a generation that finds his themes all too familiar. Written by
The political is personal + The portrait of a tortured artist.
This movie was a stunning and stirring tribute to two things: 1)The beloved (and neglected) musician, Phil Ochs, and 2)The oft- tributed 1960's. Weaving the topical songwriter's biography through the fascinating history of his time helps to make sense of the indelible stamp which that decade left on our souls. Appropriately, it doesn't end well, but it does capture that "we can change the world" empowerment that may presently and forever be rekindled.
Here you will find beautiful music(but seldom the whole song) and filmed insights into the early Greenwich Village folk scene, the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, the assassination of the Kennedy's, and as Phil embraced the world-at-large, the CIA-backed coup that helped install South American dictator, Pinochet. Here is understanding for that phrase, "the personal is political and the political is personal."
The real power-punch is that once you know his songs.. The themes are regrettably still relevant after 40+ years ! Sample these lyrics (from 1965), "We own half the world, Oh Say Can You See. And the name for our profits is democracy. So like it or not you will have to be free. Cause we're the cops of the world." Well, one update is necessary.. Because of those imperialistic policies we no longer own half the world.
If only Phil were with us now I have no doubt he could have similarly and poetically explained the financial collapse, the tea party, Citizens United, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Wisconsin attack on unions. His manic-depressive curse was to perceive the world through a deeply felt lens of social justice which filtered out media distortion and political complexities and distilled the truth into a tune you could hum. Many "protest singers" of the time attempted this but nobody did it better.
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