Documentary Review: This Was Tomorrow

Yes, the documentary is kinda old by now – but following suit with some of my past posts here’s another university assignment turned blog post. I usually look for ways to incorporate things I like into my reports and papers (hence the multiple Chance the Rapper & Kanye essays I’ve posted in here), but luckily this time it was a lot easier. This semester, my final semester of University, I’m taking a music class. A popular music class to be specific, and it has been pretty damn great (turns out my prof. is even a Wu-Tang stan). Anyone at the University of Calgary looking for an easy, fun elective I would definitely recommend Music 301 w/ Adam Bell.

But ya; The assignment was to watch a music documentary and model a review after a popular one online and give it a rating. This Was Tomorrow was one of my favourite watches on Netflix, so I penned this little 500-word review in response. (Mandatory STUNT: I got 100% on this, S/O Prof. Bell for keeping my terrible GPA afloat.)

This Was Tomorrow; Documentary Review

“The motion picture of a magnificent year”, the opening credits read. In the 2015 documentary This Was Tomorrow, Belgian director Wim Bonte blends all of the thunderous sounds and glorious sights of the Tomorrowland festival to create the best 77-minute commercial you have ever witnessed. Not to be outdone by the annual half-hour after-movies that Tomorrowland publishes each year, Bonte helps revel the festival’s 10 year anniversary by celebrating the wonderful fusion of Tomorrowland Brasil, TomorrowWorld (USA), and Tomorrowland Belgium.

In contrast to the after-movies which are mainly performance focused edits, This Was Tomorrow takes a closer look at the people that make Tomorrowland what it is – from interviews with festival-goers and performers, all the way to profiles of the organizers of the various editions – all while supplementing the ideas of “Love, Unity, Happiness,… [and] Friendship” that the electronic music festival promotes. Intermingled with the wubs and dubs of a bevy of unreleased music from various performers are some of the most stunning shots you’ve ever seen in a documentary, putting the viewer right into the middle of the mosh. If there is one thing that the documentary achieves fully, it is the feeling of complete and utter envy.

Undoubtedly, the personal stories and testimonials are the most interesting moments within the doc. While one young married couple speak about meeting each other at the inaugural edition and traveling to each iteration since, similar to the story of famed DJ’s Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike starting their career at the first event, the showstopper for me was the story of one young Brazilian woman, Maria. Traveling from Rio to Sao Paulo for the Brazil edition of Tomorrowland, Maria explains her interesting job painting buildings in local ghetto’s in an attempt to “use colors to try to touch people’s emotions”, continuing on to explain the richness of life well beyond a human’s basic needs. This part served as a great prelude to learning something new about the Tomorrowland Festival and its main goal surrounding love and peace; UN president Ban-Ki Moon has a great cameo later on, congratulating the founders on their parallel efforts.

In all truthfulness, there wasn’t a minute of the documentary upon 1st view that I would’ve skipped, and beyond being a music fan, any person with a heart could definitely connect to This Was Tomorrow on a special level. As someone who outwardly eats, sleeps, and breathes all things creativity, the biggest takeaway was how easy something as insignificant as an EDM concert in a field in Belgium could seemingly seamlessly transform into a calendar-marking event that attracts over 180,000 people each year to preach positivity and unity. While the film is certainly not perfect, and some stories leave you wondering if they are a little too good to be true, overall the film surely accomplishes its goals of enticing viewers with all of the marvelous sights and sounds, informing on a deeper level, and ultimately driving ticket sales for the coming editions.

Rating: 4.5 fist-pumps out of 5

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