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Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Perhaps the most gifted '60s folkie not born Zimmerman, Phil Ochs was a truly tragic figure: dead by his own hand in 1976, only 35 years of age. Kenneth Bowser's documentary recounts the lefty hero's life in standard talking-head mode, trotting out Joan Baez et al. to rhapsodize about yesteryear's Greenwich Village. But the film's pulse, like that of its subject, quickens with politics (particularly the singer's time in Salvador Allende's Chile). It's a well-constructed and long-overdue tribute, yet Fortune refrains from delving into larger questions that surround Ochs's work. Did the singer's unwavering dedication to agitpop leave him stranded in the '60s? And does Ochs's diminished legacy among today's essentially apolitical neofolkies amount to a second tragedy?

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Written by Jay Ruttenberg
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