Karen Dalton was a crucial figure in the Greenwich Village urban folk scene of the 1960s. Lauded by her peers, including Bob Dylan and close friend and fellow troubadour Tim Hardin, Dalton struggled during her lifetime to find an audience outside of New York’s bohemian enclaves. After several years of performing and a muted reception to her emotionally complex recorded output, she eventually returned to a rural domestic life in the spacious wilds of the Colorado mountains. There, she continued to write songs and play with local musicians, unwavering in her pursuit of creative development.
A Bright Light: Karen and the Process follows three women on an oneiric road trip as they trace the songwriter’s movements across the American landscape back to Woodstock, where she spent her final years. They encounter many of the people and panoramas that defined Dalton’s life, as well as a diverse array of contemporary musicians who have absorbed her ethereal spirit. At stops along the way, the unconscious processes of filmmaking are subsumed into the biographical discovery. The film becomes a holistic portrait of a musician possessed of one of the most expressive, and elusive, voices of her era. -DG
Runtime: 94 mins
Director: Emmanuelle Antille