As of 8.27.2021 Maine Film Center is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at all indoor events. Masks required. Details here.
The United States in the summer of 1969 was at one of the most significant moments in national history. Culturally, scientifically, economically, the tenuous fibers of the great experiment were unraveling to reveal the tentacles of change engulfing the country. Most of us pinpoint at least one event―Woodstock, Apollo 11, the Manson murders, the Stonewall protests― but everywhere America looked there was disruption. Lost amongst the wondrous chaos of 1969 was The Harlem Cultural Festival (or “Black Woodstock”), a two-month long celebration of Black pride and music attended by nearly 300,000 mostly Black Americans. The lineup speaks for itself: Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, B. B. King, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela, The 5th Dimension, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mahalia Jackson and The Staples. But for half a century this celebration of Black identity had been lost to the world. Miraculously, this incredible footage—looking and sounding up-to-date and spectacular in all ways by director Questlove—has been found and turned into the film event of 2021, winner of the Audience Award at Sundance. “I lost count of how many times my jaw dropped while watching SUMMER OF SOUL….Of course, you could just watch this for the performances and it would still be one of the best movies of the year. But why sell yourself short? Watch it for everything that it is, a kind of miraculously unearthed treasure trove of music and politics and culture and soul. So much soul”—Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic. PG-13.