Monday, February 15, 2016
Dixie (2015) Oxford Film Festival 2016
This is as complete a history of the song and it's impact as we are likely to see. The film's spine is the story of Daniel Emmett, the man who supposedly wrote the song, though as the film he may have simply been the one to bring it to prominence, since in a grave yard close to whre Emmett is buried is a tombstone for Ben and Lou Snowden who are said to have taught Emmett the song. Off of the spine is hung the history of American music, the history of American entertainment and the influence of minstrel shows, the Civil War, American race relations and the efforts of some performers to claim the song from the racists. The film also ponders what exactly is Dixie anyway. The answer to that is not as simple as it seems.
This is a truly great documentary. Its film that operates on any number of levels from social history, to musical history to an examination of how we think about the people around us. Best of all its a film that you'll want to see a second or third time simply because you'll want to catch everything that the film is throwing at you.
One of the things I love about the film is it's exploration of how the song is being reclaimed by performers today. I love how people like the Carolina Chocolate Drops are taking the song back from the racists, because as they say the song itself isn't racist it's only the connection to the Confederate South and the Klan that's the problem. How the film is being rehabilitated though reinvention makes for some wonderful musical moments.
You really should see this film. No, that's not right you really need to see this. You need to see this because in country struggling with who we are as a country and how we got here this film will give you a really big clue as to how we got here and help you to know where we should try to go next.
This film is a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking. It is also hands down one of the best films I've seen or am likely to see in 2016 (or any year)
For your tickets and more information go here