Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock / Taking Woodstock. US (c) 2009 Focus Features. P: Ang Lee, James Schamus. D: Ang Lee. SC: James Schamus - based on the book Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life (2007) by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte. DP: Eric Gautier - Arricam Cameras, Zeiss and Angenieux Lenses - Super 35 (3-perf) - DeLuxe - digital intermediate 2K - print 35mm 1,85:1. M: Danny Elfman + a great compilation score. CAST: Demetri Martin (Elliot Tiber), Imelda Staunton (Sonia Teichberg), Henry Goodman (Jack Teichberg), Liev Schreiber (Vilma), Jonathan Groff (Michael Lang), Emile Hirsch (Billy, a recently returned Vietnam vet), Paul Dano and Kelli Garner (a hippie couple in a VW), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Dan, Billy's brother and in opposition to the festival), Eugene Levy (Max Yasgur). 110 min. A FS Film release with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Taina Komu / Ditte Kronström. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 14, 11 Sep 2009 (Finnish premiere day). - A cheap digital look. - A satirical account on the mounting of the Woodstock Festival. Based on a book, whose factual validity has been contested, but it does not matter, at least it is good fiction. - I'm aware that this film has been rated as minor Ang Lee, but to me this is Ang Lee at his best. I'm a fan of his first trilogy (Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman), and this film has a similar humoristic approach. - From a small angle it lets us have a look at a big story: the biggest concert ever, with world historical gravity. - It's about world politics, about the generation gap, about sexual orientation, about drug delusion, about finding oneself, about disorientation, about freedom. - I look forward to revisiting this. - Visually shoddy, yet with a pleasant and elaborate homage to Michael Wadleigh's great documentary, complete with split screen sequences. - The music score is an enjoyable compilation of vintage tracks, new reconstructions, and Danny Elfman original compositions.

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