Well, that was a lot.
One of the most cathartic and exciting music documentaries ever made. Exciting both in how Questlove compiles the montage aesthetic of the piece and as a discovery of lost culture. Questlove's status as a musician is palpable here in how the editing maintains the rhythm of the music throughout the interviews and concert footage, but re-molds them to create new rhythms. It is less a wall of sound than a cyclone of pure sonic force. I'm surprised my eyebrows survived.…
Fearless is an overused and misused word in criticism, a cheap label for films and filmmakers that are simply transgressive and occasionally stylish. Like, is it really fearless of Tarantino to make another postmodern, ultra-violent genre flick? No. Fun, but no.
The word should be reserved for filmmakers like Nanfu Wang, who puts a political target on her head, and lays bare an entire history of family tragedy, which results in one of the most heartbreaking, personal, and vital pieces of cinematic journalism of the year.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
"Is there any perversity in this?"
This is a painful one to rate.
Billie Holiday one of the most fascinating and tragic icons of American music, let alone jazz. As the film portrays, she is a singer who was trapped in a cycle of exploitation and abuse that fueled her ability as a performer, leading to a tragically early death. If nothing else the filmmakers provide a gripping narrative; yet in an attempt to shake the music doc formula up, it…