Box Of Rain
“When home doesn’t feel like home, where do you go?”
That is the question at the heart of the documentary BOX OF RAIN. Don’t be put off if you aren’t a Grateful Dead fan, because this could apply to any fandom where all you want is to be in a group and feel a sense of home and belonging.
The search for acceptance is something that everyone should be able to get behind. After suffering trauma, the director was lucky to land into the Deadhead subculture, which allowed her to heal and stop being afraid and suicidal.
The feature documentary showcases some of the misconceptions of the dedicated following of the Grateful Dead and shows them as more than just the “dirty hippie” personas that society often portrays them to be.
Getting into a small car with her two friends, director Lonnie Frazier toured around the US following the Dead and experienced things outside of the norm in the 1980’s, when the “greed is good” culture was in its all-time high.
Showcasing interviews with their present-day selves, Lonnie and her friends reminisce about their time on the road, how they would never be cool with their kids doing the same thing, and how the thought of the potential dangers had never ever really crossed their minds at the time.
The perspective of people who have spent time outside their hometowns lends to how they see (and sometimes try to save) the world they live in now.
The Deadheads took their responsibility to the communities on behalf of the Grateful Dead seriously and tried to not upset the apple cart or make it difficult for the band to play in those areas in the future. They respected the culture, the band, and people.
This is a slightly different doc than you generally see about a big phenomenon like the Grateful Dead. It’s not even really about the fans, but a small group of people and how their experiences with other fans affected them.
These days most people connect via the internet, apps, or games. Back in the time this doc highlights, genuine human interaction was the way people came together, and it seems like the Deadheads had far fewer rough experiences than today’s youth (and adults) that can hide behind an avatar to denigrate whatever scene a group of people felt safe in.
This is less of a doc, and more of a love letter, which as a society we need more of. Shot traditionally, with fun interviews and upbeat soundtrack, BOX OF RAIN is a happy diversion to the horror of reality.
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