Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music (1970) review
Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music
Director: Michael Wadleigh
Year Released: 1970
Justly famous documentary of the three day music festival that represented the height of the Flower Power movement of the late 60's that "challenged" the American Government for its involvement in the Vietnam War. Yet, if you really want to examine these "peace-loving individuals" - who Wadleigh so clearly identifies with - they more or less seem to be a bunch of flunky neo-philosophers and mangy air-heads, young and feeling rebellious, and perhaps giddy with the idea of being away from parental control and able to experiment with drugs and sex as they please. When Wadleigh and his cameramen turn their lenses on these people, they seem outright pathetic instead of inspirational - the way a lot of people sound when high on drugs (lots of "you dig, man" and "far out"). Kurt Cobain would often lament that the 60's generation came so close to revolution and failed ... and while I certainly agree with him, are these people shown in the film indicative of the kind of "mass change" that was going to be taking place? So essentially, the mass change was really just an illusion, the sexual revolution came and left (no pun intended) and the drug revolution just produced a lot of wannabe Aldous Huxleys and Henri Michauxs without the prerequisite genius. In truth, it was three fine days of good music, testy weather and no violence, and the same songs that played at Woodstock and "helped define a generation" are now used in car ads to sell that same rebellious-and-now-hopelessly-conformist age group products. Capitalism always wins.