“Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village.
The film sounds earnest and touching in a minor, twilight-of-the-1960s way. Yet the beauty of the film as directed by documentary veteran Ron Mann (“Comic Book Confidential,” “Grass,” “Altman”), is what a stubbornly off-the-beat concoction it is.
If Jim Jarmusch ever made a documentary, it might look exactly like this one. Actually, Jarmusch has made a documentary, the 2016 Iggy Pop and the Stooges profile “Gimme Danger” (a solid film, though surprisingly conventional), but rather if Jarmusch ever made a documentary as delectable and eccentric in its minimalist vibe as his fiction features.
In “Carmine Street Guitars,” the characters are characters, the way they were in Errol Morris’s “Gates of Heaven.” You react to them as if they’d stepped out of a folk fable, and that’s the film’s quiet intoxication.
Read the story at Variety.
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