SHUT UP & SING (Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck). 99 minutes. Opens Friday (October 27). For venues and times, see Movies, page 115. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
Every year at TIFF there's at least one outstanding music doc; this year's was the gala presentation of Shut Up & Sing , which spans two years in the life of country stars the Dixie Chicks . It's enjoyable even if you, like me, cross yourself and throw on a garlic boa at the approach of anything country.
Directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck , the film jumps back and forth between 2003, when lead singer Natalie Maines declared she was ashamed that President Bush was from Texas, and 2005, when the group, having alienated half their audience, was about to launch a new album. (Maines even received a death threat on the eve of their Dallas concert.)
Kopple and Peck have created both a powerful free-speech polemic and an intimate look at the band's dynamic and the bond between Maines and sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire . It's hard to feel too sorry for these rich, white singers, but Shut Up & Sing does point out how many other people depend on the Chicks for their livelihoods. The best part is how utterly unapologetic Maines is.