Playing to the Camera: Musicians and Musical Performance in Documentary Cinema

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Unlike the 'music under' produced for films by unseen musicians, on-screen 'live' performances show us the bodies that produce the sounds we hear. Exploring the link between moving images and musical movement as physical gesture, this volume asks why performance is so often derided as mere skill whereas composition is afforded the status of art, a question that opens onto a broader critique of attitudes regarding mental and physical labor in Western culture. This interestingly conceived and well-annotated book managed to change the way I looked at and perceived musical performance captured on film.

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Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made. The film was directed by Michael Wadleigh.

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Woodstock was a great commercial and critical success. Schoonmaker was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing , a rare distinction for a documentary. Johnson were nominated for the Oscar for Best Sound. The theatrical release of the film ran minutes.

Playing to the Camera

A director's cut spanning minutes was released in Both cuts take liberties with the timeline of the festival. However, the opening and closing acts are the same in the film as they appeared on stage; Richie Havens opens the show and Jimi Hendrix closes it. In , Woodstock was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

An expanded 40th Anniversary Edition of Woodstock , released on June 9, in Blu-ray and DVD formats, features additional performances not before seen in the film, and also includes lengthened versions of existing performances featuring Creedence Clearwater Revival and others. Woodstock received universal acclaim from newspaper and magazine critics in It was also an enormous box office smash.

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The edition of May 20, of Variety reported it was doing well in its third week in Chicago and San Francisco. In his original review, Roger Ebert rated the movie 4 starts out of 4 and described it as "maybe the best documentary ever made in America", adding "The remarkable thing about Wadleigh's film is that it succeeds so completely in making us feel how it must have been to be there". Now that the period is described as a far-ago time like "the s" or "the s," how touching it is in this film to see the full flower of its moment, of its youth and hope.

In a review, Noel Murray of AV Club graded the DVD release A-, stating, "Wadleigh crafted a film with a thoughtful flow; it tells the full story of the event, from the paranoia and eventual acceptance of the locals to the helpful attitudes and eventual paranoia of the throng.

The music world has long been a rich source of film material, and it shows no sign of running dry

Woodstock runs for more than 20 minutes before Wadleigh even gets to any of the performances, and throughout the film, he cuts away to interviews and montages that map out the scope of the mini-community formed at Woodstock, in all its glories and sadness. Jimi Hendrix 's set at the end of the film was also extended with two additional numbers. Some of the crowd scenes in the original film were replaced by previously unseen footage. It ends with the epitaph to the right:. The latter included copious memorabilia.

The director's cut was newly remastered in high definition with a 2K scan of the original elements, and provided a new 5. The bonus songs, a minute collection of 18 performances presented in standard definition, are entitled "Untold Stories":. Bonus featurettes, also in standard definition, last 77 minutes. Entitled "Woodstock: From Festival to Feature," they cover the festival itself, the challenges of making the film, its reception and legacy, and other topics:. This edition contains the same Blu-ray version of the film released in along with the second Blu-ray disc of bonus features, but the latter are now presented in high definition.

Add to Cart. Playing to the Camera is the first full-length study devoted to the musical performance documentary. Its scope ranges from rock concert films to experimental video art featuring modernist music. Unlike the 'music under' produced for films by unseen musicians, on-screen 'live' performances show us the bodies that produce the sounds we hear.