My blog intern, Dizzie, and I recently watched two excellent documentaries. Both are Oscar winners, and music is at the heart of both films.
The first film, Twenty Feet From Stardom, won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. It is 91 minutes long. It's about the backup singers who add so much depth and vibrancy to live concert performances and recordings.
You may not know their names, but they are all well known to the musical artists with whom they perform onstage. Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow, and Chris Botti are just some of the performers who appear in this film, talking about the dynamics of working with these amazing backup singers, such as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, The Waters Family, and many more.
Dizzie: Don't forget Tata Vega, Boss. She's a personal favorite of mine.
Lilly Faye: Right, Diz. Some backup singers are seeking stardom of their own, while others are content being part of a team supporting a frontman. Whichever path they choose, it's hard work and sometimes a very hard life.
Lilly Faye: The second film we watched is The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. It won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. It is 39 minutes long.
This film tells the life story of Alice Herz-Sommer, a highly talented concert pianist, who until her death at age 110 in February of this year, was the oldest living Holocaust survivor.
What makes Ms Herz-Sommer, and this film, so special, is her deeply held belief in the power of music, and the amazing power of her optimism. Her positive attitude about every aspect of life is infectious.
You may doubt that a film involving the Holocaust could be a feel-good movie, but believe me, this one is.
Diz, I feel so buoyed by these two films, I could break out in song!
Dizzie: Please don't, Boss. I have very sensitive ears.
Lilly Faye: (Sings) I feel so happy....
Twenty Feet From Stardom and The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life are both currently streaming on Netflix.
Movie Ratings: Two Paws Up! Both films are highly recommended!