On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love, the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. Monterey would launch the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few among a wildly diverse cast including Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, the Who, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic verite style, D. A. Pennebaker got it all, immortalizing moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend destroying his guitar, Jimi Hendrix burning his. —The Criterion Collection
One of the founding fathers of “direct cinema”, American filmmaker’s adopted name of choice for “cinema verite”, and perhaps its best known practitioner during the 1960s and early 70s, Pennebaker helped construct a style of storytelling and an attitude toward his subjects (often political figures or entertainers) that influenced a generation of nonfiction filmmakers. He is a proponent of a cinema which favors the filming reality in as unobtrusive a manner as possible, usually without narration.
This former engineer, advertising copywriter and painter began making films in the early 50s after falling under the influence of experimental filmmaker Francis Thompson. Pennebaker’s first film, “Daybreak Express” (1953), combined his documentary and experimental impulses in a five-minute portrait of the soon-to-be-demolished Third Avenue elevated subway in NYC set to Duke Ellington’s music. Pennebaker later established himself as a member of Drew Associates, which included major documentarians… read more
Ravi Shankar's sequence of just insane sitar playing is a must see. It's quite an experience. Also Jimi Hendrix's act.
In-depth review of the Criterion Collection edition of this seminal rock-concert film:
Though it seems much farther away in time, 41 years ago on a soft day in June some 200,000 people arrived… read review
Summer of Love.
What a genuinely happy and joyous affair…Altamont or Dylan gone electric this was not. Vividly demonstrates the nobler side of 60’s music, fashion, and ethos preserved in Pennebaker… read review
Amazing stuff. I knew about this film of course, but I cant believe I waited so long to see it. Just incredible from start to finish (especially the finish). Every performance is classic. Janis… read review