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Instrument (2003)

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A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the Washington D.C. band Fugazi, covering the 10 year period of 1987-1996. Far from a traditional documentary, this is a musical document; a ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Brendan Canty ...
Himself (Fugazi)
Joe Lally ...
Himself (Fugazi)
Ian MacKaye ...
Himself (Fugazi)
Guy Picciotto ...
Himself (Fugazi)


A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the Washington D.C. band Fugazi, covering the 10 year period of 1987-1996. Far from a traditional documentary, this is a musical document; a portrait of musicians at work. The project mixes sync-sound, 16mm. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

8 December 2003 (Spain)  »

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Did You Know?


During the "ticket line, Trenton, New Jersey" scene, the year is incorrectly listed as 1991. This was filmed in 1993. See more »


Referenced in El fulgor (2002) See more »

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Moderately interesting vanity picture
21 September 2000 | by (Oakland CA) – See all my reviews

I've known of Fugazi by reputation since they first arrived on the hardcore scene but until seeing this film had never actually heard them. For fans of the band this will probably be a must see, but for the rest of us it's a decidedly mixed bag. At their best, Fugazi sound like a mixture of Sonic Youth, early Gang of Four, and Alternative TV. Most of the time, however, they deliver a rather leaden and humourless avant-punk that may have served as the prototype for every sports metal band from Rage Against the Machine to Papa Roach. While I greatly admire the band for taking control of their destiny, I think Instrument highlights many of the internal contradictions in their master plan. The film is little more than the kind of self-congratulatory puff piece that the band would probably be disgusted with under different circumstances. The only voices of dissent are a few punks interviewed towards the end of the film who don't like the band's attitude towards dancing, or think their music has lost its edge. Otherwise, it's two solid hours of fractured concert footage, fractured studio footage, and fractured interview footage. We don't get any idea of where the band came from and we barely get a look into the personal lives of the group members. Fugazi--The Grateful Dead of the hardcore generation? That may be too harsh a judgement, but their longevity, commitment to worthy but generally lost causes, and general lack of tunefulness certainly provides parallels with the horrible hairy hippies of the Haight. Final analysis: I like everything about this band except their music and their movie. Really. I'm glad they care about their audience, and I think it's great that someone can go and see them perform without feeling ripped off by Ticketmaster or getting immersed in corporate sponsorships. And I'd sooner listen to them than the foul Rage Against the Machine.

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