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Critics Choice: Great Music Documentaries


Saturday, February 2----With the film music of Ennio Morricone at different New York venues this weekend (see previous story), the Museum of the Moving Image is also focusing on music films, specifically documentaries and concert films, in the on-going series Critics Choice: Great Documentaries. The series presents important non-fiction films of the past fifty years, all introduced by a different local area film critic.

This weekend the accent is on music. Today at 2:00pm, Newsday film critic Gene Seymour introduces JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY, a 1959 film directed by Bert Stern. The film captures the excitement of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, with stellar performances by such jazz giants as Thelonius Monk, Sonny Stitt, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan and Louis Armstrong.

Immediately afterwards, at 4:00pm, Thelma Adams of US Weekly introduces the celebrated rock concert film, THE LAST WALTZ (1978), directed by Martin Scorsese. The film chronicles the final concert of The Band, with legendary performances by The Band itself, along with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison.

Saturday evening ends with film critic Armond White of the New York Press introducing X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC, directed by W.T. Morgan. In this rarely screened film, the California punk rock group X is profiled, with their highly original mix of 50s hipster lit, grassroots Catholicism, country blues, rockabilly, The Doors, plus genuine American punk rebellion.

Sunday's films are a mix of Broadway and babushka. At 2:00pm, Newsday critic Jan Stuart introduces ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY (1970), directed by documentarian extraordinaire D.A. Pennebaker (who will be present for the screening). The film chronicles the tempestuous recording session of the original cast album of Stephen Sondheim's COMPANY, which is now having a widely praised revival on Broadway.

For something completely different, People Magazine film critic Leah Rozen introduces EAST SIDE STORY (1997), directed by Dana Ranga. In this delicious documentary look at Russian movie musicals, the campy visuals match the kitschy music to create an all-singing, all-dancing, all babushka-wearing musical extravaganza that showcases the entertainment value of the Stalinist era.

For more information on the series and upcoming programs, visit the official website: Museum of the Moving Picture.

Sandy Mandelberger
Film New York Editor

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(International Media Resources)

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