Just as the Extraordinary Ordinary People he profiles have devoted themselves to keeping traditional art forms alive, folklorist Alan Govenar has dedicated himself to exalting their work in books and films. His knowledge and affection are contagious.
Sidemen: Long Road to Glory hits the familiar notes of Standing in the Shadows of Motown and 20 Feet from Stardom, documentaries focused on unappreciated musicians (like session players and background singers) who’ve made important contributions to pop history.
A straightforward performance film benefits one-person shows that are conversational or invoke characters through voice and gesture, but that doesn’t suit Okwui Okpokwasili’s demanding multidisciplinary piece, Bronx Gothic.
Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger show as much generosity of spirit to their subject, prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, as she has displayed to fellow dancers at the New York City Ballet during a storied thirty-year career.
Who knew Cate Blanchett wanted to be Tracey Ullman? That’s probably not the reaction director Julian Rosefeldt hopes will be stirred by this rigorous series of monologues, stitched together from more than 50 artistic and political manifestos and performed by Blanchett as 13 characters.