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SXSW Film Review: The Lady Bird Diaries: The very first lady and her troubled times, in her own words – Screens


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The very first lady and her troubled times, in her own words

Sxsw Film Review The Lady Bird Diaries The First Lady

The Lady Bird Diaries (Photo by LBJ Library)

Culled from 123 hours of audio journals made by Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson throughout her other half’s presidency from 1963 till 1969, Dawn Porter’s doc supplies an immersive trip of among the most rough years in American history from a remarkable perspective.

Based on Julia E. Schweig’s 2021 biographical recontextualization Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight, The Lady Bird Diaries is aesthetically made up of absolutely nothing however archival video footage, with a handful of animated series providing flesh to telephone call, and the audio is all Lady Bird.

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As LBJ was sworn in on an aircraft running away Dallas on that November day in 1963, the shock of her brand-new function was severe. “It was like going onstage for a role I never rehearsed,” she said. But quickly enough, she is providing notes and a letter grade to her other half’s interview looks (she studied as both a reporter and instructor), and discovers her footing as a very first lady.

Through the passage of the Civil Rights acts, the Voting Rights act, and the Medicare Act, there was no scarcity of strength in Johnson’s presidency, not to discuss the whole year of 1968, however it was Vietnam that pestered the man. Diaries brightens the lots of faces of Lady Bird: understanding spouse to her other half’s anxiety, eager observer of individuals in power around the president, and a strong ethical compass. Porter’s doc does much to get rid of the incorrect understanding that Lady Bird was simply Southern Belle who wished to plant a lot of flowers by the side of American highways.

It is by style that the movie’s particular perspective does not have a bigger context, however there are times when other point of views would have been welcome. Nevertheless, as a picture of a public figure reassessed throughout an influential chapter of American history, The Lady Bird Diaries is a vital addition to the record.

The Lady Bird Diaries

Documentary Spotlight, World Premiere

Don’t miss our interview with director Dawn Porter, “Lady Bird Johnson Documentary Reveals the Legendary First Lady’s Wonk Side,” March 10.

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Catch up with all of The Austin Chronicle‘s SXSW 2023 protection.

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