19 October 2014 | comicman117
An Experiment in Records
The 78 Project Movie is an interesting documentary. Based off an acclaimed web series (which I have not seen), and inspired by Alan Lomax, a man who quested to capture music as it went through the 20th century. The 78 Project Movie is about a journey across America to record some of today's musical artists as they perform early influential American songs that inspired future songs and artists, trying to record them exactly as they originally were. The 78 Project Movie is an interesting documentary and experiment to watch. It showed me things that I didn't even know were still around.
The very well done title cards at the beginning immediately got me hooked on The 78 Project Movie. However, one of the most things I found fascinating about the documentary was that it made me realize that traditional records are still popular in certain circles, or at the very least, they are making, a comeback. All of the songs in the film are recorded in the old record way, done in order to match the time period that the original songs were written (30's, 40's, 50's etc
). This gives the film a feel of recognizing the past and giving its' due due. I must applaud the filmmakers, Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright for that, as well the people who on the road trip.
Among the places the two visit include Port Tobacco, Maryland, Arnaudville, LA, among others. We even see the two travel through Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana. This gives the film a feel of a road trip style documentary, as we follow our two filmmakers as they look for artists to record and put on records.
What I especially liked about The 78 Project Movie though was the performers that we got to see. Most of them have nice voices, and even though their appearances are brief, the amount of musical artists that we get to see perform is good. All of the artists are not famous, with most of them being up and coming. Among the artists that perform include such names as John Paul Keith, Ella Mae Bowen of Nashville, John Wilkins, Tom Brosseau and strangely the only name I recognized and who I had no idea was also an actual country singer (his appearance was brief), John C. Reilly, simply credited as John Reilly.
The 78 Project Movie also shows the process of how the 78 mil records are made, something that I didn't particular find to be all that engaging, but other audience members might. Additionally, we are shown other items throughout various scenes', such as a tube supplier, instantaneous discs, and dusk jacket discs. While these are the weaker parts of the documentary, items such as the instantaneous discs are very interesting to look at and think about.
The 78 Project Movie is a very low-key documentary with some interesting elements to it. What I especially liked about the film was the various performers that we got to see in the documentary. They brought the voice and energy to a film that probably wouldn't have interested me otherwise, aside from the eye-catching, well done, opening credits.