|Genre: Documentary, Tragedy, Biography|
Tagline: A celebration of soul.
Plot: Influential documentarian D.A. Pennebaker, perhaps best known for his 1967 Bob Dylan documentary DON'T LOOK BACK, co-directs ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE, a fascinating look at some of the most influential soul musicians from the 1960s and 1970s. Pennebaker's film centers around the survivors from this tumultuous period in soul music, talking at length to Sam Moore, Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, Mary Wilson, and Isaac Hayes amongst others. All have a bittersweet story to tell of their time in the business, many having experienced the euphoric highs of chart success, followed by a fall from grace, and a late resurrection of their careers upon which this film focuses.
Clearly enjoying their twilight years in the spotlight, the featured artists display a mixture of talent, humor, and a sense of gratitude that they have survived for so long in the often-cutthroat music industry. 80-year-old Rufus Thomas perhaps best exemplifies their spirit, taking to the stage with all the energy and enthusiasm of a 25-year-old, he proves that age and a troubled past are no obstacle to providing a compelling, moving performance. An essential film for soul fans, ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE is a moving human-interest story which manages to reach beyond its target audience by providing a heartwarming tale of
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