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Long May You Run: Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young Trunk Show”

Long May You Run: Jonathan Demme's "Neil Young Trunk Show"

Though few aesthetic experiences are as necessarily social and participatory as concert-going, when live music is captured in that other communal art form known as cinema it is difficult for it to feel anything but awkwardly isolating. Sitting in the darkness of the theater, watching others experiencing the performance at some previous time, the concert-film viewer is always stuck on the outside, unsure whether to clap, stomp, or sing along or just watch reverently. A successful product of the genre, like 2006’s Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, can reduce our awareness of this chasm between ourselves and the onscreen stage, inviting us to bask in the good vibes. Or, like Jonathan Demme’s Neil Young: Heart of Gold (also released in 2006) and its new follow-up Neil Young Trunk Show, it can ignore the live audience altogether and emphasize its own meticulously designed theatricality. Read Andrew Chan’s review of Neil Young Trunk Show.

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