“Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity.”

Director: Questlove
Release Date: July 2, 2021

Just going to bit a bullet on this one. I do not love Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). I understand that it is a front runner for the Best Documentary Academy Award, but as a movie I did not connect with it on visceral level.

The backstory to the Summer Of Soul is fascinating. The same summer that Woodstock was taking place, there were was the Harlem Cultural Festival taking place at Mount Morris Park. The entire thing was captured on film with a very low budget, but the footage and audio had never been brought to life, until now. There are numerous notable names and groups performing at this festival, and Summer Of Soul lets their voices shine and uses them to illuminate the black culture and movement happening during that time.

There is no denying that the music in Summer Of Soul is the best facet of the movie. There are songs I knew that I was finally able to put faces on. If you are a fan of this music, then this movie will be a nirvana for you and you will probably want to murder me. The editing done by Questlove and his team to incorporate the interviews conducted during full song performances is seamless, for the most part. This documentary lets the artists shine the most, and that makes sense with who is helming this project.

The struggle that I personally have with Summer Of Soul is that the visuals of it are not striking. I am not in awe of the crowd. The fact that all of this archived footage exists is remarkable, but the standard television crowd shots get repetitive. I was drawn back into the audience shots when the topic of the fashion was brought up and the editors did a good job highlighting such things amongst the cohorts, but otherwise it is the same standard shots.

Perhaps my head is warped because of The Ringer’s Woodstock 99: Peace, Love And Rage (2021) and the supremely disturbing crowd shots that highlighted the madness at that event. Yes, the Harlem Festival was preaching for peace and had a lot of religious undertones (another reason it was hard for me to connect), which is a very different vibe than the York, NY madness that took place decades later.

ummer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a good documentary. It is not like Misha And The Wolves (2021) where I had problems with the construction and point of view. It is objectively good, and it is the front runner to win the Oscar. I personally did not have the emotional connection to it, but that is a me problem. Questlove did make something worth celebrating, and I think he will be come the Oscars when his name and movie gets called.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.0/5 Stars)

Stanko Excel Lists | Movies, Books, Podcasts. TV Shows
Stanko Letterdbox Account

“Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Apple)
“Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Spotify)

“The Bachelorette” Finale | It’s Late, But Here Are My Quick Takes

Alright, I am very late with The Bachelorette finale, but here we are. I just want to type of my really quick thoughts on the two night, five hour finale bonanza. “Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Apple)“Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Spotify) Stanko Excel Lists | Movies, Books, Podcasts. TV ShowsStanko Letterdbox Account

The REEEEEEM Fantasy Football Week 4 Recap

Standings Notable Week 5 Nuggets Points Scored Compared To Projected Through Week Three Week 5 Matchup Recap My Own Worst Etiennemy (124.76) defeats Dirty Mike And The boys (75.86) Steve’s team has arisen. After an 0-2 start, the fantasy football gods have begun to not see Steve as an Etiennemy, but rather as a Friennemy. […]

“Raya And The Last Dragon” | Vibe Thrives But Execution As Stale As Cement

“In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.” Directors: Paul Briggs, Don Hall, Carlos Lopez Estrada, John RipaWriters: Paul Briggs, On Hall, Adele Lim, Carlos Lopez Estrada, Kiel Murray, Qui Nguyen, John Ripa, Dean WellinsStaring: Kelly Marie Tran, […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s