You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big amounts of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country.
Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off this year’s Tribeca Film Festival on a note of soulful celebration (at a premiere held, of course, at the Apollo Theater), fills in the 85-year history of the 1,506-seat show palace on 125th St. in Harlem that changed black culture and changed American culture. No, it was more than that — the Apollo Theater changed black life and changed American life.
The film pulls off that feat in a bracing and moving way: by flowing back and forth between past and present, performance and political activism, so that by the end we know in our bones how false it would be to separate them.
Read the story at Variety.
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