Even though watching a pompadour’d Joaquin Phoenix fall for a country-singing Reese Witherspoon was hardly a bore, nothing beats watching the legend himself on the big screen for some true alt-country magic. Bestor Cram’s Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison uses rare footage, audience accounts, family interviews, and rock photographer Jim Marshall’s haunting portraits to tell the story of the Man in Black’s most pivotal performance. The documentary focuses on the political turning point in Cash’s career as marked by his 1968 show at California’s Folsom State Prison and the live album recorded there. Clips that depict Johnny Cash’s developing friendship with inmate Glen Sherley or wife June Carter keeping a roomful of prisoners in line with her witty stage presence make for some fascinating gems of rock ‘n’ roll history. Tonight, the film will be shown with director Cram in attendance as part of the Tribeca Cinemas Presents: Doc Series.

Mon., March 8, 7:30 p.m., 2010