Home Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (12A)

Genre: Documentary
Author(s): Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson
Director: Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson
Release Date: 16/07/2021 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 117mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

In the summer of 1969, almost 100 miles from Woodstock, Tony Lawrence hosted the inaugural Harlem Cultural Festival - a series of five concerts in Mount Morris Park headlined respectively by The Fifth Dimension, Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Mongo Santamaria and Nina Simone. Restored footage of the concerts forms the spine of this documentary, which reminisces about a pivotal moment in time, which brought together the people of Harlem and captured a mood of change sweeping across America.


LondonNet Film Review
Summer Of Soul (12A)

In August 1969, a dairy farm in Bethel, New York, attracted huge crowds to a rock festival billed as “3 Days of Peace & Music” featuring performances from Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Arlo Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and The Who. The free-loving image of Woodstock was immortalised in a 1970 documentary directed by Michael Wadleigh and an accompanying film soundtrack…

The same summer, almost 100 miles south-east of Bethel, large crowds flocked to Mount Morris Park for the inaugural Harlem Cultural Festival masterminded by Tony Lawrence. Concerts headlined by The Fifth Dimension, Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Mongo Santamaria and Nina Simone were also recorded for posterity but hours of precious film stock languished unseen in a basement for more than 50 years. The so-called Black Woodstock was largely forgotten, except by those who attended.

Lovingly restored footage from 1969 forms the spine of an exuberant documentary directed by musician Ahmir Khalib Thompson, aka Questlove, told in the words of festival performers and members of the public, who flocked to see their idols and party at “the ultimate black barbecue”. Summer Of Soul reminisces about a pivotal moment in time, which brought together the people of Harlem and captured a mood of change sweeping across America in the aftermath of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. “The point of the festival may very well have been to stop folks tearing up the city,” suggests one contributor to the film, referring to riots and unrest in the largest African-American neighbourhood in Manhattan.

Performances by the likes of Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach, BB King, David Ruffin, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Hugh Masekela, Moms Mabley, Ray Barretto, Sly And The Family Stone and The Staple Singers are tightly interwoven with personal testimonies and reflections. “The point of music is to hold a mirror to ourselves and tell our stories,” says Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda flanked by his father, Luis Miranda, as they affirm the unity between black and Latin people.

Summer Of Soul is, to quote one nostalgic interviewee, “like a rose coming through the concrete”. The thorns of social and political upheaval are clearly visible: in news footage, festival-goers dismiss the Moon landing during one concert as a waste of money when communities in Harlem are crying out for financial support. Questlove strikes gold when he records musical artists watching themselves for the first time. Billy Davis Jr and Marilyn McCoo from The Fifth Dimension are rendered speechless and misty-eyed by their rendition of Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In from the musical Hair. They break the silence with an amusing anecdote about the song’s inception courtesy of a misplaced wallet. The sunshine comes flooding in.

– Jo Planter


London Cinemas Showing Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)


From: Friday 23rd July
To: Thursday 5th August

ArtHouse Crouch End

Fri 13:15 15:30 18:15; Sat/Mon 12:45 18:15; Sun 15:15 20:15; Tue/Thu 15:30 (Tue) 20:45; Wed 13:00 18:15

Barbican Centre

Sat 17:35; Sun 17:15; Mon 20:45

Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3

Fri/Thu 20:45; Tue 18:30

Catford Mews Cinema

Fri/Mon/Wed 11:00 20:45; Sat/Sun 14:30 20:30 (Sat); Tue 13:30 18:30; Thu 17:30

Crouch End Picturehouse

Fri 17:40; Sat 11:50; Mon 16:50; Tue 17:45; Wed 20:15; Thu 17:00

Curzon Bloomsbury

Fri 15:10; Sun 20:30; Mon 13:30; Tue 20:20; Wed 17:40; Thu 16:00

Curzon Hoxton

Fri/Thu 12:30; Sat/Mon/Wed 12:20; Sun 12:00

Curzon Soho

Fri 15:20 20:40; Sat 12:10 17:30; Sun 15:00 20:20; Mon/Wed 12:15 17:45; Tue/Thu 15:20 20:45

Curzon Victoria

Fri/Sat/Mon/Tue/Thu 14:45; Sun 14:00

Curzon Wimbledon

Fri/Mon-Thu 15:40; Sat 13:00; Sun 12:30

Electric Cinema

Fri 18:00; Sat 15:00; Sun 17:30

Everyman King’s Cross

Sun 13:30; Wed 18:15

Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill

Fri 17:45; Sat 16:20; Mon 15:00; Wed 20:15

Hackney Picturehouse

Sat 20:30; Mon 18:15

ICA Cinema

Fri/Wed 16:00; Sat 16:30; Sun 21:00; Tue 18:20; Thu 20:55

JW3 Cinema

Sun 17:30; Mon 20:00; Tue 18:30; Wed 14:50; Thu 18:00

Kino Bermondsey

Fri/Wed 20:45

Odeon Greenwich

Fri/Sat 22:30; Mon 20:30

Olympic Studios

Sat/Wed 20:40

Phoenix Cinema

Fri 20:35; Mon 17:35; Wed 20:20; Thu 17:30

Picturehouse Central

Fri 16:25; Sat/Mon-Thu 12:40 (Mon-Thu) 18:20

Regent Street Cinema

Fri/Thu 17:45; Sat 20:20

Rich Mix

Fri/Sat/Tue/Thu 17:50; Sun 17:40; Mon/Wed 20:40

Ritzy Picturehouse

Fri 15:40; Sat 18:00; Sun 17:10; Mon-Wed 17:50

Riverside Studios

Fri 17:10; Sat/Sun 14:30; Mon/Tue 17:30; Wed 19:45; Thu 17:00

Stratford East Picturehouse

Sat/Mon/Wed 20:15; Sun 17:15

The Castle Cinema

Fri 18:15; Sat 21:00; Sun 14:30; Tue 18:30; Wed 13:20; Thu 16:10

The Chiswick Cinema

Fri/Thu 18:20; Sun 18:10; Wed 17:10

The Lexi Cinema

Fri 20:40; Sat 15:15 17:30; Sun 19:00; Mon/Wed 15:15 20:40 (Mon); Thu 18:15

From: Friday 6th August
To: Thursday 12th August

No cinema infomation at the moment

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)


From: Friday 23rd July
To: Thursday 5th August

Arts Picturehouse

Sat 15:00; Sun 11:45; Mon 15:30; Wed 20:20; Thu 17:50

Bromley Picturehouse

Fri 17:45; Sat 13:15; Mon 14:00; Tue 16:30; Thu 19:00

Cameo Picturehouse

Fri/Wed 14:30 17:15 (Wed); Sat 11:30 16:45; Sun/Thu 11:15 (Thu) 17:00; Mon 17:30; Tue 14:15

Cinema City Picturehouse

Fri/Wed 10:20; Sat 20:40; Sun 13:30; Mon 13:00; Tue 17:40; Thu 12:15

City Screen Picturehouse

Fri 16:30; Mon 11:30; Wed 20:10; Thu 17:10

Duke Of York’s Picturehouse

Sun 15:00; Mon 12:30; Wed 18:00

Everyman Bristol

Sun 12:45; Wed 15:15

Everyman Newcastle

Sat 15:00; Mon 17:50; Thu 17:00

Exeter Picturehouse

Sat 14:00; Tue 20:30

Harbour Lights Picturehouse

Fri/Wed 17:15; Sat 17:20; Sun 16:45; Mon/Thu 17:30; Tue 15:15

Little Theatre Cinema Picturehouse

Fri 15:45; Sat 15:15; Sun 14:30; Mon 20:00; Tue/Thu 17:45; Wed 15:30

Phoenix Picturehouse

Fri 17:45; Sat 20:45; Sun/Tue/Thu 17:30; Mon 15:00; Wed 20:15

Picturehouse At FACT

Fri 15:20; Sat 14:50; Sun 13:45; Mon-Thu 15:30

Regal Picturehouse

Sun 16:20; Mon 12:30; Thu 16:40

Watermans

Fri/Sun 19:00; Mon/Wed 16:00

From: Friday 6th August
To: Thursday 12th August

No cinema infomation at the moment