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Rolling Stones: Ole Ole Ole! A Trip Across Latin America

Doug Collette By

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Rolling Stones
Ole Ole Ole! A Trip Across Latin America
Eagle Vision
2017

Although Paul Dugdale's documentary of the Rolling Stones, Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America, was shown in theaters during the autumn of 2016, it deserves its release on DVD/Blu-ray because his directing permeates the film with suspense. Add to that dramatic virtue the many priceless moments sprinkled throughout the film, such as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' reminiscence and acoustic duet on "Honky Tonk Women" or the slow-mo stage shots during the rainfall in Brazil, and it only makes sense to own this title for repeated viewing(s). The director captures the spectacle of these shows not just in the longs shots of pyrotechnics, but also with behind-the-curtain vantage point of the band taking the stage as well as spectators on the upper levels of the open-air stadium (with police on duty along a similar concourse taking photos and video !).

Dugdale makes this film worth watching in its entirety more than once to absorb the varied detail he includes over the course of a nine-stop jaunt that culminated, after no little angst on the part of the producers and operations team, with a free concert in Cuba (also splendidly documented by this same filmmaker on Havana Moon (Eagle Vision, 2016)). Taking place just days after Barack Obama became the first American president to visit the island in eighty years, the iconic British band's appearance is anything but anti-climactic and there's no little humor arising from those circumstances (or those presented by the Pope's disapproval of the rearrange date of March 25, which turned out to be Good Friday). Because the director refuses to dwell inordinately on such factors, he's able to cover a lot of ground in the one hour and a half plus duration of Ole Ole Ole!.

By adopting a narrative interweaving content devoted to each stop on the tour, interwoven with updates on the sequence of events involving the show in Cuba (aptly introduced by snippets of Stones studio recordings), Dugdale creates anticipation even though the performance is a fait accompli. The denouement works in part because he, like the band itself (particularly Jagger), marries the history of the Rolling Stones to that of the culture of each country on the itinerary; the sustained attraction of the iconic British group throughout the region including Argentina, Chile and Mexico, gains more credibility when it's placed in the wider context of rock and roll at large. Dugdale amplifies that perspective further with regular shots of the all-ages, demographically diverse audiences at each tour stop.

As much as the Rolling Stones might seem somewhat condescending as they invite native artists backstage to perform, visiting local venues for the same purpose or arranging meetings with native musicians, because Paul Dugdale juxtaposes statements from the 'locals' with footage of streets filled with fans watching the band's motorcade (truly reminiscent of the Sixties indeed), there's a definite sense of collective generosity in the group's willingness to regularly return to the road, not to mention arrange such momentous events as the free (!) concert in Cuba.

The wide-ranging view created in the primary feature renders somewhat redundant additional footage (or extensive artwork apart from images of tour posters inside the digi-pak). The obvious exception is live footage such as that which comprises these very 'Bonus Features:' running just shy of sixty minutes, seven complete performances from different venues illustrate how invaluable it is for Jagger, Richards and co. to continue their road work: whether the vintage likes of "Paint It, Black" the reinvention of "Midnight Rambler" as pure blues or "Out of Control," the self-referential cull from a mere twenty(!) years ago, everyone involved plays and sings with a vengeance, albeit a decidedly delighted one, but most especially perhaps Richards (who gets a rousing ovation at one point during the Mexican concert). A Trip Across Latin America deserves its main title for maintaining the prominence of so many truly great rock and roll songs.

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