Aiyana Elliott crafted this loving, affecting documentary of her father, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the legendary folksinger who was both a disciple of Woody Guthrie and a mentor to Bob Dylan (who later denied Jack's influence). The son of a Jewish doctor from Brooklyn, Ramblin' Jack refashioned himself as a folksinger, and, after his early success as part of the Washington Square folk revival, he spent decades singing songs of lumberjacks, cotton pickers, and cowboys until his 1995 album "South Coast" brought him belated recognition. Father and daughter travel the United States visiting old friends, like Kris Kristofferson and Arlo Guthrie, and throughout Jack sustains a wistful, funny monologue that imparts his own peculiar brand of wisdom: "My advice to young people today: learn how to whittle." He's a master storyteller, and it's easy to get caught up in the spell of his words and miss the film's sad core: a daughter's search for her unknown father.
Dec 30, 2008, 20:58:44
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