By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here to view beginning Feb 5th, 2021
Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia
C’mon baby, let’s do the twist with Denis Pantis, the son of a Greek immigrant who took Montreal’s music scene by storm back in the 60s. His presence was everywhere. From producing to finding new talent, the names he discovered said something not only for the times but also for his pocketbook.
Jukebox: An American Dream Made in Quebec is a wicked look into the past, with a personality in its presentation to boot. Directors Éric Ruel and Guylaine Maroist expertly delves into Pantis’ influence throughout his many ventures, and although he never wanted to be a musician himself, he had the talent to promote others and turn hits from elsewhere into francophone delights.
A lot of tunes The Beatles, Chuck Berry, or Johnny Rivers made famous needs more than a line of French in that tune. The red tape is strangely not explored in this work, but something must’ve been done otherwise lawsuits would be flying. Artists can get away with parodying other works when that label is there. As far as music is concerned, although some songs’ titles aren’t even changed, it’s still recognizable in any language!
Despite this oddity, this documentary is highly entertaining, toe-tapping and a wonderful look when the industry was not as dog eat dog. Quebec is its own microcosm. The problems of the times, reflected in 50s Americana, are seen a decade later in another land up North. It’s humorous on some levels but also sad–a statement on society as a whole no matter where lovers of music are in the world.
5 Stars out of 5