Kopple's doc shocks and awes

Shut Up And Sing

on October 27, 2006 by Kevin Courrier
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When Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the popular girl group the Dixie Chicks, told a London audience on the eve of the Iraq War that she was embarrassed that President Bush hailed from her home state of Texas, she didn't realize how a spontaneous remark between songs could have larger and damaging ramifications. The comment made headlines around the world and alienated the band's country music constituents in the United States. It also inflamed right-wing groups who fired back with CD burnings, radio boycotts and ultimately a death threat.

Shut Up and Sing is a smart, snappy picture about how the political consequences of Maines' remark actually solidified the band, helped redefine their music and got them to walk the walk. Unlike Death of a President, an anti-Bush film that deliberately narrows one's perspective, this politically charged documentary from directors Barbara Kopple ( Harlan County U.S.A., American Dream ) and Cecilia Peck generously opens up the subject of civil liberties -- along with the price of defending them.

Besides witnessing the band and their harried manager scrambling to uphold the group's artistry, Kopple and Peck show how this turbulent period brought a whole new passion to the sound of their music. Whereas the Beatles were virtually driven to stop touring in 1966 after John Lennon made his own controversial comment about the band being more popular than Jesus, we see how similar events had the opposite effect on the Dixie Chicks. They continued to face their audience head on. While watching the Chicks balance career and family life, Kopple and Peck paint an intimate portrait of a group breaking free of being a brand. Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Cast: Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison.
Director: Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck
Producers: Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck, David Cassidy and Claude Davis
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time: 99 min.
Release date: October 27 ltd, November 3 wide

Tags: Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, Emily Robison, Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck, David Cassidy, Claude Davis, Documentary, political, Marines, band, civil liberties
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