The Latest Central Subject In The Celebrity, Activist, Bio-Pic Documentary Trend…
When it comes to cinema, documentary is not a distinct genre per-se. It is a mode in and of itself, a unique filmic language with its own rolodex of forms, tropes, and trends. Thus, it is hard to look at documentary as a whole and pick out the medium’s exact kinds of iconographic shifts. Most documentaries attempt to be didactic, and teach the audience something concrete through their narratives. Usually that something is culturally relevant.
A handful of recent documentaries have been looking to the past in order to say something about the present. “Apollo 11”, “Leaving Neverland”, and “Woodstock: Three Days That Changed A Generation” are just a few examples of docs that came out in the past year that have dug deep into the stories of previous generations.
On top of that, audiences have shown a fascination in celebrity stories with documentaries such as Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Fred Rogers and Amazing Grace about Aretha Franklin garnering success in 2018.
Lastly, documentaries about identity and social justice, particularly in light of the current political climate, have been ubiquitous. Netflix’s Knock Down The House and Magnolia Picture’s RBG have both been examples of films about strong females rising above all odds to inspire, empower, and evoke change.
With all of these popular trends at hand, it was only a matter of time before a documentary came out that combined them all. Perhaps the right subject or story just needed to come along.
Encapsulating her Unique and Meaningful Life and Career
Linda Ronstadt was a celebrity and musical sensation across the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. In addition to being a brilliant singer-songwriter, Ronstadt was an activist, using her music and influence during the Civil Rights era to stand up for the rights of many marginalized groups. In particular, she advocated for gay, feminist, Latinx, and immigrant rights and spoke out against oppressive policies in the second half of the twentieth century.
Additionally, Ronstadt was also an actress and record producer, influencing the entertainment industry in a highly patriarchal period of its history. Now, Linda Ronstadt adds to her impressive resume being the central subject of the new documentary, “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice”.
Greenwich Entertainment and CNN Films are set to release “The Sound of My Voice” in select theaters beginning September 6th. Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman directed the film, the same duo that created “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt” back in 1989. “Stories from the Quilt” chronicled the lives of people affected by the AIDS virus in the days before the 1987 gay-rights march on Washington. Clearly, the directors are not new to telling controversial stories and championing important subjects.
“The Sound of My Voice” promises to be just as enthralling and inspiring as Epstein and Friefman’s previous collaboration, but with a large dose of upbeat, Linda Ronstadt energy. The film will focus on Ronstadt’s bravery and initiative, how she stood up to adversary, overcame roadblocks, and helped other women achieve success and recognition in music.
These stories are told primarily through interviews with other musicians who knew and worked with Ronstadt during her prime. Footage of Ronstadt herself, in concert and making both personal and public appearances across her decades in the spotlight.
At the same time, it seems like the film will also be a celebration of Ronstadt’s amazing career. While Linda Ronstadt involved herself in many very heavy topics over the years, she remains a great artist at her core. The belief that she is a superb singer is unanimously held, and all politics aside, everyone can enjoy her music. At times the songs were sad, at times they were introspective, but at other times they were uplifting, soulful, and happy.
If the film does not lose sight of this, it will leave viewers appreciating Ronstadt in her entirety, as a musician, and as a singer; as a songwriter, as an actress, as a producer and as an activist; as sensation, and as an icon; as a woman.
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