Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Perhaps because I remember the disco era, and I loved the music, I liked this movie more than I should have. Some of the interviews are intriguing, the music is incredible, and the video footage (from the files) is great. The best section deals with Studio 54--a trip all by itself.
I watched it sober. Not the recommended approach to an argument that disco is the musical embodiment of the feminist critique of patriarchy. In a different mood I might have been able to consider Donna Summer's Love to Love you Baby as a rejection of the three-minute sex act!
Great film about disco. Awful premise. Great footage and interviews with some of disco's creators and haters. Definitely can get thru 1 hour and 24 minutes and feel good about it.
THE SECRET DISCO REVOLUTION has a great premise at its core--investigating disco fever from a socio-political perspective--something disco truly deserves. Sadly, DISCO gets all wrapped up in the music biz and hedonism and loses its way. A VH-1 doc at best. Another missed opp at the bijou :(
Maybe disco was really just about having a good time. Getting all academic about it seemed over the top for me. Although the whole gay liberation perspective actually made sense to me. I was too young during the disco era to be aware of anything like that.
The disco documentary is contains too funky music from the beginning to the end.
This is one of the best documentaries I've seen all year! Really, I don't know how it gets better than this. First off, you've got an examination of the best music from the 70s. From The Village People's "YMCA" to "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, you'll learn something new about all these songs. Then you have the interviews themselves. Director Jamie Kastner smartly has a wide berth of interviewees. While the disco stars are no doubt represented, with The Village People (my fave interview) at the end, so too are the producers, and even scholars. Through these people, Kastner depicts a holistic and informed image of disco and the 70s. At its base level, he shows disco as a hedonistic, pleasure-principle driven dance party. On a more intellectual level, Kastner shows that disco was actually used by underrepresented minorities to express their inner most desires and anxieties. With great music and interviews, and even several clips from the venerable Soul Train, it's hard not to find something to love here.
This doc was entertaining in ways it may not have set out to be. Well organized and well researched, it meant to show how disco came to explode as a cultural and commercial force in the late seventies. In that it succeeded, using the belaboured premise of a "conspiracy" including members of 3 key oppressed groups seeking both expression and liberation: blacks, women, and gays. The movie could've been just as good without literally showing the "conspiracy" over and over "conspiring", which was meant to be humorous but only proved an unnecessary (and silly) distraction. The movie made effective use of photographs and clips of the era, but the interviews with actual disco stars seem to have almost backfired on the filmmakers. The sincere journalistic intent of the documentarian was turned on its nose over and over by disco artists whose comments and memories were often more bitter than sweet or verging on mocking toward the idea that the disco era had any politicial "meaning" or importance at all. Some of the artists were basically one hit wonders, for whom the era was described as heady but rough, and others had longer range success, yet still came across as either crusty and defensive about the disco phenomenon or just winking as to its drug and sex excess. The former included Evelyn "Champagne" King, who pretty well summed up the frustration of getting a massive disco hit: "we needed to 'keep going'," i.w. follow up the smash with more hits that weren't necessarily forthcoming; K.C. of K.C. and the Sunshine Band was a poignant figure, noting that it hurt when the "Disco Sucks" movement came around; the Village People came across like a bunch of middle aged guys in a sports bar who poh-poohd the very possibility that those who wrote and produced their music deliberately wrote tongue in cheek lyrics as an earnest expression of gay lib, even as one of their producers insisted that that was exactly the sincere intent of the man who created the act in the first place. (This proved the most hilarious part of the doc, since other than Donna Summer and the Bee Gees, they were one of the most successful acts from the genre). Fittingly, the movie ended with one of the Village People mock-strangling the film-maker and saying "You read too many books, Jamie." This is not surprising for a group that was long ago adopted as a favorite pet by the straight, mostly white, nostalgia cruise-line crowd who could care less about "gay liberation" or the concept of "camp". Who needs to be a "gay icon" when you can be a "cash cow" and the Village geezers' interview illustrated this to humorous effect. (P.S. Was that the Indian? really?)