Fillmore (1972)

Fillmore (1972)

“We have not sold any tickets on the basis of Santana.”

Concert promoter Bill Graham manages five final performances by various musical bands at the Fillmore West auditorium in San Francisco as it’s about to close in 1971.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Concert Films
  • Documentary
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll

This documentary about the final performances given at the Fillmore West auditorium in San Francisco is widely considered a downer given over-inclusion of footage showing promoter Bill Graham acting about as obnoxious as possible. While learning about his traumatic past as an orphan fleeing from Nazi Germany helps us have some insight into why he acts the way he does, it’s still unpleasant seeing him at work.

On the plus side, of course, are the performances, filmed in just 16 millimeter but creatively edited here using split screen and double exposure.

Fans of any of the bands on stage — including Quicksilver Messenger Service, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and (infamously) Santana — will certainly want to check this one out, but it’s in no way must-see viewing for others.

Favorite random scene: A man (musician?) in a cowboy hat reassures a young girl with all sincerity that he may not be able to get her a pink balloon to play with, but will try his best to get her a balloon.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Creative use of split screen cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious.


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