dir. Ang Lee
It’s all in the details. How will we look back at our youth? I look back to last year in glimmers, but forty years from now that will most likely turn into smog. Over half a million people attended the most celebrated of music festivals, Woodstock 1969. I wonder if they remember this influential festival like it was yesterday. It’s festival season, and in light of some of my closest friends returning from their unforgettable time at Lollapalooza, now is as good of time as any to talk about 2009’s Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee (he’s directed a couple other of my favorites including The Ice Storm and the Academy Award winning Brokeback Mountain).
The film drops the viewer into the life of Elliot Teichberg (Demetri Martin) in rural Bethel, New York, where he is trying to save his family’s sinking motel from foreclosure. As a last resort to help his family out, he decides to put his whole town on the map by inviting the owners of Woodstock Ventures to use his land for their huge music festival that had currently been run out of the original site of Wallkill, NY. Elliot’s difficult relationship with his parents is weaved throughout the 3-day series of events and inevitably helps him come of age. The entire cast really drew me in especially standout performances from Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. Lee’s attention to detail in every scene really made the film feel authentic; from the extras to the vendor stands leading to the festival. Although, the film does have it’s slow moments (where you may need to pause, take a cat nap, and then hit play), it’s shot really beautifully. The character’s that come and go continuously throughout leave the viewer with distinct memories and also propel the film along.
I’d recommend Taking Woodstock to anyone longing for a past that they did live or an imagined past we all wish we could have been a part of.
Written by Rachel Summers