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Taking Woodstock – nf – Woodstock was a massive event in which hundreds of thousands of people descended on a small town in upstate New York in 1969 to listen to music and experience peace, love, drugs and rock and roll. It also was also an historic event in that it has come to be the defining moment of that generation. Rather than try to recreate the entire event Director Ang Lee used the screen play based on Elliot Tiber’s memoir to focus mainly on one twenty something young man (played by Demetri Martin) and his parents who are holocaust survivors and owners of run down motel in the Catskills. They follow his odyssey as president of the dinky local chamber of commerce as he entices the organizers of the concert to come to his town after another town where they were planning to hold the concert rejects them. You meet the farmer on whose land the gathering was held and see how the plans for the event take root. You watch how it then grows in an inevitable manner, as it becomes a magnet for the hippies of the peace and love generation. At the same time the film takes us on the journey of this young man who ultimately comes to realize that this is his time to join his generation and move away from his needy parents although his Dad is able to gently give him a push onward. Ang Lee has done a masterful job of capturing the atmosphere, sights and sounds and even an LSD experience of that conglomeration that was Woodstock. He did this with many extras that swayed with the music and imaginary images, took off their clothes, played in the mud while communing with nature and each other. He chose not to show any newsreel clips of the actual music performers although that would have been fun to see. Since most people we know missed being at Woodstock in person or in spirit by being too old or too young, this film almost makes you feel as though you really didn’t miss it and all the planning and drama that led up to it. It was a special experience. 2009
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