I saw a bunch of films at the NFB Mediatheque and a couple at Toronto’s Underground Cinema as part of NXNE in 2010. I can’t believe that I never got around to writing anything more than tweets and iCal entries on these films. I’m going back through my calendar to add in entries to the bankrupt artist.
The week of June 16th brought me out to see a bunch of films as part of NXNE 2010 – I focused on films by day, and checked out the bands in the evening. I know I didn’t see all the films screened for NXNE, but I did get most of them.
TRIMPIN: THE SOUND OF INVENTION – “a documentary feature profiling the life and work of a highly creative and somewhat eccentric artist / inventor / engineer / composer.” Working with the Kronos Quartet, Trimpin develops a concerto for toy instruments and provides information on how he develops his sound installation pieces.
DO IT AGAIN – A writer becomes a documentary film maker as he tracks down fans of and members of The Kinks, in an attempt to get two brothers to mend
THE GIFT OF MUSIC – A documentary that feels more like a first draft than a finished documentary. It covers how a program for music therapy has been helping people. It does this without making any claims of miracle cures or anything. Basically, people like making music, and if it makes someone happy to make a joyful noise, why not. Would like to see another cut of this with a more ‘finished’ feel to it. There wasn’t a real narrative, per se; maybe that’s what I was missing. http://www.musictherapytrust.ca/
A GUN TO THE HEAD – Blain Thurier’s pretty decent feature that chases around Vancouver. Nice to see Vancouver playing itself in a movie, and to see so many places I remember.
SUPERSTONIC SOUND: THE REBEL DREAD – Documentary about the odd career and life of Don Letts. Interesting to see him reflected so much in his until-recently-estranged son.
SOUNDS LIKE A REVOLUTION – Fat Mike (NOFX), Ice T, Natalie Pa’apa’a, Pete Seeger, The Dixie Chicks, David Crosby, Steve Earle, Paris, Jello Biafra, Ani DiFranco, Wayne Kramer (MC5) are all interviewed, and Michael Franti and Anti-Flag feature heavily. Summer Preney produced this film outlining how music has been and is used to voice anger and to call for revolution. Introduced me to Michael Franti and http://www.soundslikearevolution.com/. Part of me thinks it’s naive, but part of me just likes the music.
THE BLANK GENERATION – This is an odd beast. Shot in B&W in the 70s by Ivan Kral and Amos Poe as a way of documenting their friends. They’d play the film at parties and shows for themselves. They say that they never really were looking make a “film” out of the footage. Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie, New York Dolls, among others are here, so very young. As it was shot on 16mm film without sound, audio was added later from band demo tapes and little thought was given to synching the sound track to the action. This is a historical document more than a documentary film, and worth seeing.
CIRCA 1977: THE DIODES – Revisiting the 1970s scene in Toronto with its veterans, telling stories of the good old days. Nicely handled film with no real drama from the nostalgically reunited group. Interesting as they re-visit locations that they used to frequent.
X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC – I’m glad I saw this in addition to seeing the original lineup of X play at Yonge Dundas Square. I only really knew the band from their Los Angeles, Wild Gift, and Hey Zeus! albums, and about Exene from one of her solo albums I got in college.
SEARCH AND DESTROY: IGGY POP AND THE STOOGES’ RAW POWER – Really interesting look into the drama that can come from the music industry when they “know better” than the artist.