Get Back was the year’s most captivating music documentary, but plenty of other candidates hit big and small screens in 2021.
Among those I haven’t seen (yet) are Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Listening to Kenny G, Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love and Rage, and any of the four(!) different Britney Spears documentaries released this year.
But I did catch three others that I’ll highlight this week.
The best of the bunch is first-time director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul, which unearths footage of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a concert series celebrating Black excellence. Footage of the shows has been stashed away for decades, and the event has been largely forgotten over time.
Questlove‘s film highlights amazing musical performances by such legends as Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson and more. But it also traces the hotbed social and political issues of the time, and the role race played in all of it.
This is one of the very best films of the year both for its resonant message and its sublime music.
This was a great documentary, highlighting an event I had never heard about but one we all should know and experience.
I agree. This was a wonderful documentary. I especially loved Nina Simone and the Fifth Dimension’s acts. It’s a must see!