This film was viewed as part of the 2010 Charlotte Film Festival. We are lucky enough to cover this event for the second consecutive year, our complete coverage of last years festival can be found here.
This years Charlotte Film Festival (the fifth annual) started off with a documentary called Soundtrack for a Revolution, which was written and directed by documentary film makers Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman. It tells the story of the civil rights movement in America through the protest songs that activists sang throughout the struggle. Artists such as The Roots, Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone and John Legend (to name just a few) give warm, intimate performances of the songs which are interspersed which footage of the activists themselves telling the story of the movement and singing the songs. People such as Harry Belafonte, John Lewis and Rev. Edwin King give first hand accounts of the horrors as well as the triumphs they witnessed firsthand.
Where the movie really excels is it’s ability to portray through the artists performances and the interviewees singing the beauty and power of the songs without taking away from the powerful story, and without minimizing the events of the movement. Although some of the performances are quite stunning and emotionally fueled (Joss Stone and Wyclef Jean stand out, although all the performances are great – theirs are simply brilliant) the film never lets the viewer forget that these songs were sung by those who were suffering and dying for what they believed in. There is news footage of the events which never let the viewer forget the cruelty and the inhumanity that American visited upon each other. While it shows the power of the songs and musics ability to help bring people together through a difficult time, the music never overshadows the message, it merely compliments it.
I am not one to rave about a movie of any kind, and typically I am not a fan of documentaries, however this is a film that hit on all cylinders throughout. It portrays not only pain and suffering of the movement but ulimately its triumph. This film is a must see. Even if documentaries are not your thing, even if you have never seen one, see this one. I can assure you, you will not regret it.
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