I went to see Shut Up & Sing by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple tonight at a slam-packed Avalon Theater. The film was entertaining. Most impressive was the lead singer, Natalie Maines. I couldn’t have named one Dixie Chicks song earlier today, but this lead singer is a force of nature. In a good way. The film could have been better had the filmmaker been permitted more access or perhaps had the main characters been more forthcoming or less guarded; also, the decision to wrap production a few months before the Dixie Chicks won a bunch of Grammy’s probably sold the film short. Nonetheless, very good film. My favorite moment of the entire evening was more symbolic of Kopple’s iconic stature among American documentarians. During the Q&A, a woman asked Ms. Kopple about a character in her 1976 classic, Harlan County USA. Tonight, more than a generation removed, in front of hundreds of film lovers — some born since the film was made — Kopple answered.
PS. Go to the The Avalon Theatre. It rocks.