Directed by Kenneth Bowser • Documentary • With Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Tom Hayden, Christopher Hitchens, Sean Penn, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow • 2010 • 97 minutes
As our country continues to embroil itself in foreign wars, PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE is a timely and relevant tribute to an unlikely American hero. Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned two turbulent decades, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure - a contradiction that eventually tore him apart.
From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arc of Ochs' life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. In this brilliantly constructed film, interview and performance footage of Ochs is illuminated by the ruminations of Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Peter Yarrow, Christopher Hitchens and others.
"Excellent! A strong and forceful documentary, beautiful and melodic as well as pointedly political." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times