|Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune
A film by Kenneth Bowser
97 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2010
As our country continues to embroil itself in foreign wars, PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE is a timely and relevant tribute to an unlikely American hero. Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned two turbulent decades, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure - a contradiction that eventually tore him apart.
From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arc of Ochs' life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. In this brilliantly constructed film, interview and performance footage of Ochs is illuminated by the ruminations of Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Peter Yarrow, Christopher Hitchens and others.
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"A terrific documentary. Ochs was an uncompromising artist who believed in the power of music as a tool for social and political change. His songs provide a stirring soundtrack throughout the film." - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"Excellent! A strong and forceful documentary, beautiful and melodic as well as pointedly political." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Powerful! Filled with passion, humor, idealism, intelligence and perfect songs."
"This fine, deeply researched documentary, filled with commentary from unusual suspects, is at once an unsentimental portrait of the ambitious singer who thought himself bound for glory, and an affecting elegy for a time when song was a form of revolution."
"An electrifying look into the political climate of the 1960s and the ability of certain popular musicians (Ochs, Baez, Seeger, and Bob Dylan) to inspire the people. It's rare to encounter a documentary about a folk musician that is so politically inspiring and musically rich. For those unfamiliar with Ochs and his music, the sheer beauty of his voice can be shocking."
See details about this film's theatrical run.
Tracing the Arc of a Tragic Folk Singer, The New York Times, 12/22/10
Phil Ochs: The Life and Legacy of a Legendary American Folk Singer, Democracy Now!, 1/6/11
● 5.1 Audio