Sounds of Summer 2017: Music Films, Old and New

June 29–Aug. 17, 2017

This year’s abundantly diverse selection includes both celebrated classics like Stop Making Sense and excellent newer releases such as Two Trains Runnin’, all showcasing brilliant musical acts and soulful characters. Featuring performances from artists Patsy Cline, The Band, Otis Redding, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Eagles of Death Metal, and more! Join us for the epic experience of watching and listening to great music films on the big screen with a crowd of like-minded fans. There’s nothing like it.

This series is programmed by Brian Ackerman, Karen Sloe Goodman, and Andrew Jupin.


Monterey PopJune 29–July 6

“Quite simply one of the best rock concert films ever thanks not only to some great performances but also to the way it sums up the spirit of the times” (Time Out) “The film possesses a quality of nostalgia beyond the fact that it was made way back in 1967.” (Chicago Reader) It was 1967, [...]

Two Trains Runnin'July 5

  “A powerful meditation on the origins of an African-American musical genre and the painful reasons for its existence.” ( “This captivating movie, like the blues itself, is at once a recognition of … somber truths and a gesture of protest against them.” (New York Times) In June 1964, Mississippi was a tense and violent [...]

Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake!: Otis at MontereyJuly 6

Two short films, two legendary musicians, two mythic performances: Pioneering filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus present Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding’s entire sets from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Jimi Hendrix, who arrived at the festival virtually unknown after launching his career in London, floored an unsuspecting audience with his electrifying six-string pyrotechnics [...]

The Last WaltzJuly 8

“It’s arguably the most beautiful of rock movies, while the musical highlights – ‘The Weight’ with the Staples Singers, Van Morrison’s firebolt ‘Caravan’, every Levon Helm vocal – still astound.” (Time Out) “Seeing The Last Waltz again after many years is like revisiting an old passion and realizing the heat is still there.” (Vulture) The [...]

Four Lads from Liverpool: Deconstructing the Birth of the BeatlesJuly 11

In the late 50s, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Starkey were just four Liverpudlian teenagers who decided to play music. With no formal training and no ability to read or write music, they tried to emulate their American rock heroes. Within a few years, they would change music history (and the world) [...]

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: Deconstructing the Early BeatlesJuly 12

In 1963, The Beatles went from four unknown musicians to musical superstars. The singles and albums they released that year, not to mention the numerous songs they gave away to other artists, are some of the greatest pop songs ever written. And they were just getting started. Join Freiman as he deconstructs the music the [...]

Roll Up!: Deconstructing Magical Mystery TourJuly 13

Explore the music written for the Magical Mystery Tour TV show, as well as the additional songs that appeared on the 1967 LP. In 1967, the Beatles embarked on an ambitious project, writing and directing a one-hour film, Magical Mystery Tour. The music written for the film is some of their psychedelic best. Freiman delves [...]

Buena Vista Social ClubJuly 14

In the 1990s American guitarist and roots-music champion Ry Cooder pulled some of Cuba’s brightest musical talents out of obscurity to form the Buena Vista Social Club. Playing a mix of cha-cha, mambo, bolero, and other traditional Latin American styles, the band recorded a Grammy-winning album and became an international phenomenon, eventually traveling from the [...]

Samba & JazzJuly 17

“…probably the most revealing look we’ll ever get of its subject, and the most loving evocation of his music.” (Washington Post) “It’s a great concert, but it’s also a fascinating character study.” (Los Angeles Times) “Samba and jazz are brothers in blackness,” says celebrated Brazilian samba singer Alcione. “They mix together in a way no [...]

Gimme DangerJuly 18

“An important addition to our understanding of early ’70s anarchy.” (Time Out) “A brainy and funny look at the creation and still-evolving legacy of a rock ‘n’ roll band Jarmusch considers the greatest of all time, even if RollingStone and snobby critics won’t admit it.” (Toronto Star) Emerging from Ann Arbor, Michigan, amid a countercultural [...]

Stop Making SenseJuly 19

There are so many ways we want to remember our friend Jonathan Demme, who passed away in April. One of the best we can think of is to show this masterpiece of a performance film—and we’ll crank it all the way up, just as Jonathan would have wanted. Art house theaters across the country join [...]

I Am the BluesJuly 24

“The music both comes out of and is an antidote for suffering, and the result is often joyful and exultant.” (Missoula Independent) “When the music takes flight, it’s a thing of beauty. Heartache never sounded so good.” (National Post) Back in the 1950s South, “blues devils” like Bobby Rush performed their magic in certain bars [...]

Patsy Cline: American MastersJuly 25

With rare performances of such classics as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Crazy,” this loving tribute shines a bright light on Cline’s obvious talent and uncanny emotional depth—but it also portrays her as a woman who worked hard to overcome industry gender biases and personal hardship to [...]

Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll!July 26

To celebrate Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday, the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards asked Robert Cray, Eric Clapton, and longtime Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson—along with Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon, and others—to join them onstage in two unforgettable concerts. Berry performs his classic songs (“Maybellene,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven”) and surprises us with some [...]

Deconstructing the Beatles’ White AlbumJuly 31

Come into Abbey Road Studio for a look at the revolutionary techniques used during the production of “Revolution,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Blackbird,” and other songs on the bestselling record that would be known as the White Album. Released in 1968, it encompasses almost every style of music—from hard rock to country to chamber [...]

Deconstructing the Beatles’ Rubber SoulAug. 1

In October 1965, the Beatles were faced with an impossible task: to produce a new album of original music for a Christmas release that year. A month later they emerged with Rubber Soul, which promptly hit number one on the charts. Learn the stores behind the creation of “Norwegian Wood,” “In My Life,” “Nowhere Man,” [...]

Bill Frisell, A PortraitAug. 2

A masterful musician, prolific composer, and bandleader, Bill Frisell has won a Grammy and was DownBeat’s Guitarist of the Year for ten consecutive years. While his music may be well known, he’s ordinarily reclusive. But he opens right up in this nuanced film, which delves into the ideas and processes that have shaped his music [...]

Dont Look BackAug. 3

“The movie is mesmeric: while it features spellbinding snatches of a musician performing at the height of his powers, the off-stage drama is just as enthralling.” (The Guardian) Acclaimed documentarian D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop) accompanied Bob Dylan to England for a three-week tour in the spring of 1965. Recording several brilliant solo performances and capturing [...]

Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandAug. 7

Rolling Stone called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band “the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art, and studio technology by the greatest rock-and-roll group of all time.” Learn about it from multiple angles as Freiman explores the history behind the music and the Beatles’ [...]

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)Aug. 8

“an engrossing portrait of the power of honesty and friendship, the permanence of art, and the perseverance of the human spirit.” (Consequence of Sound) The brutal Nov. 2015 terrorist attack in Paris claimed 130 lives around the city, 89 of them at the Bataclan theater, where the Eagles of Death Metal were performing. Spotlighting the [...]

A Gesture and a WordAug. 9

When singer/songwriter Rob Morsberger was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2011, he and filmmaker Dave Davidson were already working on a film together. The two agreed that they would just continue their project, and Morsberger embarked on the most prolific 18 months of his career, recording three albums of his own work; collaborating on [...]

A Matter of TimeAug. 10

“A Matter of Time is part concert film, part family portrait, and part call to action.” (The Tyee) In 2007 musician Kathryn Calder was touring the world with the indie rock band the New Pornographers when the devastating news arrived: Her mother, Lynn, had been diagnosed with ALS and was given only a few years [...]

Deconstructing the Beatles’ RevolverAug. 14

This 1966 album launched a period of studio experimentation for the Beatles that coincided with their decision to stop performing live. With “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and more, the band pushed popular music to a new place. Learn about the groundbreaking production techniques that went into creating this landmark piece of music [...]

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the WorldAug. 16

Blues master Taj Mahal recalls that the 1958 single “Rumble”—by Link Wray, who was born to Shawnee parents—actually made him “levitate out of bed about four feet” the first time he heard it. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese marvels (in a good way) at “the aggression” he heard in its thumping power chords. But Wray’s music—along with [...]

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your ManAug. 17

“…the portrait of Cohen that emerges is a fascinating one.” (San Jose Mercury News) “Cohen is clearly a songwriter’s songwriter, and the resulting movie brims with an infectious passion for the man’s melodies and sardonic wit.” ( Some songwriters “pass through philosophies and selves as if through the stations of the cross,” wrote essayist Pico [...]