'The Ballad of Greenwich Village'
Listen to the film's bongosgo, big daddy, go, yah! It's all going to come flooding back as you walk among the drunk T-shirts and the rich who now own the garretsGreenwich Village, beginning in the l850s, la Paris, has always celebrated exactly what mattered: cheese, picketing, poetry, typewriter keys, sex. It was "mecca," says Norman Mailer, sitting at the White Horse in his blue sweater. Karen Kramer's hopeful, lovingly made documentary, a ballad with a recurrent refrain, never lets us forget that the spirit will not die. It lives in the wet wood at the Bitter End, in every romantic who flees Idaho, sobbing onto the pagein all, the eternal recurrence of revolt, youth, and art. Kramer, a respected New Yorkbased filmmaker since her 1978 Appalachian snake-handling church film, uses a straightforward presentation to tell the story of a twisting, alternative land. Information and short, close-up, passionate interviews rule: Tim Robbins ("horrible gentrification"), Woody Allen (on Eugene O'Neill), Maya Angelou (feeling like "Brer Rabbit in the briar patch"). In 70 minutes, partly filled with archival Kodachrome's soft rosy glow, Kramer filters down an enormous history. Think of having to choose just one Washington Square protest, one NYU takeover, one drag queen, one Living Theater performer jumping up and down and screaming. Lili Taylor narrates.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...