The Ballad of Greenwich Village

Rated NR

This documentary is not so much a movie as a collection of vignettes. Mixing bits of historical footage, educational-film-style narration, interviews with many of the famous denizens of Greenwich Village and contemporary scenes of those who still live there, Ballad fails to produce anything cohesive. There are at least a dozen great stories in here, but none are followed through or allowed to act as a guiding thread. There’s also a bit of the annoying “we were so cool back in the day” feel that makes watching other people’s nostalgia an exercise in tedium. If you’re interested in the history and culture of this artistically dense neighborhood, Ballad acts like a decent intro text, but I couldn’t help wanting something a little deeper on many of the subjects that are so quickly and lightly touched upon.

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