I've been on a documentary kick this week. I borrowed a bunch from a friend and being an avid viewer of this genre, I've watched 3 in the past two days.
I started with The Same River Twice. The film shifts between the experience of a group of friends who spent a month during the summer of 1978 rafting down the Grand Canyon naked, and the lives of several of them 20 years later. From the Website:
"In 1978, on a breath-taking trip in the Grand Canyon, filmmaker Robb Moss and a group of free-spirited friends and lovers took a month-long trip down the Colorado River. Cutting between footage of their youthful, often naked, unscheduled lives and the complex realities of their adulthood today, the film creates a compelling portrait of cultural metamorphosis. From running rapids to running for mayor, The Same River Twice is a story of change, choices, and of finding one's place in the world."
me and my then boyfriend Dave at the Nevada Test Site protest, 1991
I found myself looking back on the years I spent in Oregon during my early twenties and thinking about how closely that period resembled the image of this group of friends, though it was almost 15 years later -- and their footage looks like it could have been taken almost 15 years earlier. While my life hasn't changed as much as most of the folks featured in Moss's doc, it still made me acutely aware of the layers of time. I also found myself mesmerized by the character Jim -- what a hottie -- then and now!!
I then watched Heartworn Highways. What a gem!! The film, by James Szalapski, features Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark (the friend who turned me onto Karen Dalton, also just made me a copy of Clark's first album, Old No. 1), Rodney Crowell, Charlie Daniels, Steve Young, Gamble Rogers, David Allan Coe, and Steve Earle during the rebirth of country music around Austin and Nashville in the mid-70's. I loved seeing the footage of Townes Van Zandt (looking very forward to seeing Be Here To Love Me) and the first recording of Steve Earle when he was 19 or 20. I full heartedly agree with Earle's subsequent quote years later about Van Zandt: "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
Last night and today, I watched the documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on Frank Lloyd Wright. I'm generally not a fan of Burns, but this is quite well done. I love Wright's work -- the Guggenheim has been might favorite museum since I first visited in the eighties and Falling Water is my dream home, though Taliesin West is a close second.
Tonight it's Rebels With A Cause.