D.A. Pennebaker: He Was There for Dylan, Clinton and Monterey Pop


D.A. Pennebaker is definitely one of my favorite documentarians of all time. Just stop and think for a second about all the classic moments he and his team have captured: a 25-year-old Dylan acoustically bitch-slapping Donovan in Don’t Look Back. Carville and Stephanopoulos hashing it out over their underdog candidate Bill Clinton in the War Room. And Pennebaker was there to document history in the making during that famed festival of flaming guitars with Monterey Pop, where Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Hugh Masekela, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Mamas & The Papas, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix appeared in their prime.

You can relive every moment of that dramatic concert on Thursday here at the Film Society, when we screen an incredible high-definition version of the seminal documentary. With screenings at 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 how can you resist starting your holiday weekend a little early to the sweet strains of Ravi Shankar’s amazing twenty-minute finale?

P.S. Monterey Pop made film history in a surprising way. Per Wikipedia: “Jean-Luc Godard  was so taken by Jefferson Airplane’s performance in Monterey Pop that later in 1968 he set out to make a never-finished film called One A.M. (for “One American Movie”) in collaboration with Pennebaker and Leacock. Godard shot a sequence of the Airplane, (included on the 2004 “Fly Jefferson Airplane” DVD) , playing at high noon on a business day on the roof of a New York hotel across the street from the Leacock-Pennebaker offices, with the tower of Rockefeller Center in the background. Attracted by the extremely high volume of the music, the police arrived and put an end to the shooting. This incident inspired other bands, notably the Beatles in their Let It Be film, to mount their own rooftop performances.”

See it Thursday!

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