The last three films in the 2011 Sundance US Documentary Competition all involve musicians, beginning with Morgan Neville’s TROUBADOURS, a look back at the emergence of the singer-songwriter in the 1970s LA music scene.
Sundance Program Description:
Framed by the illustrious careers of James Taylor and Carole King, TROUBADOURS delves into the quietly explosive singer-songwriter movement in Los Angeles during the early 1970s. From their home at impresario Doug Weston’s Troubadour club in West Hollywood, artists like Taylor, King, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, and Kris Kristofferson (the list goes on) wrote and performed songs with intimately personal lyrics, marking a transition from the politically focused songs of the ’60s. While some rock critics denigrated the music, the spirit among the musicians was one of collaboration and inspiration, and these singer songwriters flourished.
Morgan Neville creates a riveting chronicle of the time, weaving together archival footage, rare performances, and interviews from a veritable who’s who, including Elton John, Steve Martin, and Bonnie Raitt. TROUBADOURS takes us deep into the scene (and its inevitable demise) and celebrates the pure, timeless music and the undeniable legacy of these groundbreaking singer songwriters.
Director Neville has a long history of making films about music and the arts. His most recent documentary, THE COOL SCHOOL, was also focused on Los Angeles, looking at the city’s art scene in the 1950s and 1960s. Producer Eddie Schmidt, the current Board President of the International Documentary Association, produced Kirby Dick’s CHAIN CAMERA, TWIST OF FAITH, and THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED – all past Sundance titles.
Why You Should Watch:
It goes without saying that fans of Taylor and King will already be lined up to enjoy this privileged look at the early days of their careers. Even those with only casual familiarity with their music or the music of their time should appreciate the easy warmth the duo bring to the screen in the present day, as well as the rich archival footage of their performances. Most impressive is Neville’s ability to successfully interweave these musicians’ stories through the larger tapestry of the LA singer-songwriter movement, its contrast with what came before, and with what was going on in the contemporary and dismissive NYC music scene.
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above.