Here’s another documentary from Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker (this time in collaboration with Nick Doob) that’s like watching someone’s home movies—no narration, no explanation, not even bothering to identify who is speaking. Movies like this depend on the subject matter to compensate for the laziness of the filmmakers, and here the subject is a live concert in Nashville of the music from the Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?
After half an hour of Doob, Hegedus, and Pennebaker’s annoying backstage meandering, the concert itself finally gets underway, emceed by the late John Hartford (briefly overcoming the debilitation of his terminal cancer). From that point on, the movie’s entertainment value goes up several hundred percent; it’s poor filmmaking, but wonderful music.