This documentary combines archival footage and interviews to examine the life of one of music's most universal legends, Johnny Cash. The film recounts the events of Cash's life, from his poor beginnings to his celebrity and his battle with drugs. It also delves into how Cash addressed the issues of his day and evolved to be both a patriot and a social activist. Many famous fans of Cash, including... See full summary »
John Carter Cash
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.
A political and social history of Los Angeles, using old stills and news footage, contemporary footage, and commentary. Bert Corona is our guide for East Los Angeles, Buck Henry for ... See full summary »
In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.
The subjects of this documentary are the renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, an international orchestra which he created. Some of the other members, renowned in their respective countries and regions, are also interviewed. They include Kinan Azmeh (from Syria), Kayhan Kalhor (a Kurdish Iranian living in exile), Wu Man (from the Chinese province of Zhejiang), and Cristina Pato (from the Celtic region of Galicia in northwestern Spain).
This film ably juxtaposes the spiritual beauty in discussions of music and culture against the troubles of the world including histories that are current (Syria), recent (Iran), and distant (the cultural revolution in China in the 1960s). These discussions also include the difficulty in maintaining culture and music during such difficult times. Similarly, modern economics is also a challenge to maintaining cultural history which is most important as many musical instruments are unique to certain countries and regions.
As the main interviewee, Ma is inspirational due to his modesty, his intelligence, and his ability to articulate the spirituality he sees in his art. It is also refreshing to witness someone who is world famous but who also seems resistant to the trashy and vulgar sides of fame.
One of the most gripping scenes is where Azmeh visits Syrian refugee camps in Syria and teaches basic music to a group of young girls. An aerial view of the camps is heart-wrenching.
With such a great collective of music, I was expecting a grand finale. The finale was pleasant though it could have been more emotional. While this film takes on great principles, it occasionally seems a bit too earnest. But when it covers so much beautiful music, art, architecture, and spiritual values, how can one not like it? It's no surprise that its director, Morgan Neville, directed another musical documentary "20 Feet from Stardom" which was one of the best movies of 2013.
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