Studying the cultural and political revolutions of the late 60s and early 70s won’t earn you points for originality. It is not that this period in world history is not important – it is worth judging over and over again, if only because, as you know, history repeats itself. Just look at the Trump Years, the Pandemic, and the Years of Protest Against Racial Discrimination and Police Brutality – they mimick how Western culture changed during the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War / Nixonism Protests, and the Countercultural Movement Against The 50s Howdy Doody nuclear family, structural prejudices and permanent stains of McCarthyism.
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The music is of course a mirror of the times, with cultural luminaries like Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Carole King, Gil Scott-Heron, The WHO, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Smart stone, Sir Elton John and countless others who weave narratives of all kinds to remind us of how the world has changed for better and for worse. AppleTV +‘s Docuseries “1971: the year music changed everything”May not have the artistic flash and urgency of Quest love‘S bombastic upcoming directorial debut”Summer of Soul (… or when the revolution couldn’t be televised)“Or an unforgettable aura like the brilliantly excavated Franklin concert film”Amazing Grace. ”However, it serves as an educational tool to help curious onlookers who may not fully understand the cultural significance of the year. If you’re a fan of this era or enjoy looking back at how the tectonic plates of music shifted to produce some of the medium’s formative works, you’ll be swimming. If you have studied the time frame exhaustively, this could reinforce what you already know.
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Like 2019 “Apollo 11”,“ 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything ”eschews the talking head format to direct a bevy of footage and audio clips from the players (including late personalities like Lennon and Nixon) into eight comprehensive, albeit ambitious, episodes Asif Kapadia (“Senna“,”Amy“), Danielle Peck and James Rogan. Kapadia, in particular, has made this type of documentary a profession – low-key, attentive works that let the story speak for itself rather than making a shoehorn from a modern perspective. That way you cut through the fat and get right to the center of the drama. It’s not always the best way to document history, but when done right it can force it in ways that traditional documentary just can’t.
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This AppleTV + documentary series tries to cover a lot (after all much happened in 1971). By and large, the documentary series successfully captures people’s moods and how important the cultural changes were in laying the foundation for everything that came after. Through countless films, albums, documentaries, books, and history classes, we all know artists, politicians, activists, and other key figures of the time. Their stories are not hidden – we know how their music spoke out on racial injustice, the anger at Vietnam and Nixon’s government, the weariness of systemic politics holding people down, the explosion of free love, and recreational drug use. It’s well-worn soil.
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What “1971” does best, however, best understands the power of visuals paired with music. Of course, public opinion about the Vietnam War changed quickly as images of what was happening circulated en masse on television across the country. The same was true of the civil rights movement; Ava DuVernay‘s masterpiece “Selma”Shows how Martin Luther King Jr. understood the power of television, how Americans had to watch the suffering of black Americans to fuel their collective empathy for King’s righteous cause. The greatest strength of this documentary series is not in the processing like that of its colleagues – but in the liveliness and potency of the film material. The concert and recording material is spiced with scenes from the historical context and captivating interviews; Songs are clearly identified with texts on the screen; it can be pretty compelling when it really clicks.
However, at times the montage can be a little scattered, almost trying to chew too much before swallowing. His eyes can be a little bigger than his stomach. We bounce around so much that while we have a thesis in every episode, we don’t spend too much time really digging into every story, person, and situation. Something more reserved like “Summer of Soul” or “Amazing Grace” hits you harder because it focuses on a person and a specific moment. You get the full tide of the craftsmanship and why it was so time-defining. “1971” wants to paint a picture of the full moment, and that doesn’t quite give you that intimacy.
Nevertheless, “1971” is worth the price of admission. The first scene in the series hits you right away Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young‘s pioneering “Ohio” hired against the senseless 1970 shooting of students in Kent by the Ohio National Guard. Even though the song was released a year earlier than the serial polls, you can feel the sadness, fear, fiery anger and confusion; it sets a tone. The series is best when it combines the intensity of the sound of the moment with the power of its visual memories. When everything collides, you really feel the temperature of life as the music helped change the world. It’s a stirring reminder that not much has changed and how we continue to see art and politics converge to create reality. [B]