Summer of Soul

New York Times Critics' Pick
117 mins.
Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
PG-13
2021
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In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.

Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten—until now.

SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.


"On one hand, this is just cinema. On the other, there’s something about the way that the editing keeps time with the music, the way the talking is enhancing what’s onstage rather than upstaging it. In many of these passages, facts, gyration, jive and comedy are cut across one another yet in equilibrium. So, yeah: cinema, obviously. But also something that feels rarer: syncopation." Wesley Morris. A New York Times Critic's Pick!