In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music ... See full summary »
Sam Dunn is a 30-year old anthropologist who wrote his graduate thesis on the plight of Guatemalan refugees. Recenly he has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has ... See full summary »
A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.
In GLOBAL METAL, directors Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn set out to discover how the West's most maligned musical genre - heavy metal - has impacted the world's cultures beyond Europe and ... See full summary »
A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.
In the summer of 2006, Sigur Rós returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts for the people of Iceland. This film documents their already legendary tour with intimate ... See full summary »
Jon Thor Birgisson,
Orri P. Dyrason,
Despite his deeply silly stage name, I've always been a fan of The Edge, and spent what felt like a good part of my youth trying to figure out his riffs. So it was a revelation to me to see him switch off his effects and make fun of how banal his "original" (un-enhanced) riffs really are. In another scene he points to a concrete platform on his former school where he and what was to become U2 first performed; he casually remarks "I was standing on that side" and then it dawns upon him "... and that's been my side ever since." There are a lot of quiet but magic moments like that in this documentary, that make it so captivating.
I also found the segments on Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page fascinating. When he started out, people didn't yet make a living as rock stars (I remember a BBC session when Led Zeppelin's members were asked what they were "really" doing). Wild boy Jimmy Page got his first guitar by accident, because somebody'd left it behind in the house his family was moving into, and later he had a pretty mundane career as a session musician, where he was playing stuff nobody'd dream of associating with him today.
To me, the odd one out was Jack White. Certainly a good musician, a great specimen of a still relatively young guitarist, but he seemed to me rather grandiose, egocentric and attention-grabbing, his self-stylisation as a white bluesman with tie and pork-pie hat was just plain silly, and his attitude "I don't play big-name guitars but cheap junk and it's still great music" started to grate after a while.
The movie was best when it was just following and listening to the guitarreros. The segments when they are supposed to intimately discuss guitarish matters and "just forget that the camera's even there" don't work so well. There are lots of cute design ideas which liven up the movie and keep it together. The movie works less well when it tries to summarise and explain; a particular gaffe was when The Edge complains about the self-indulgent guitar solos of the 1970ies, and the movie ignores the blatant fact that self-indulgent soloist #1 at the time was none other than Jimmy Page.
You know who was really missing from this movie? The late, great Les Paul. I would have loved to be able listen to his side of the story.
Finally, I took a lot of heart from the final scene when all three musical heavies play The Band's "The Weight" together -- and it doesn't sound that convincing. Just like when I was jamming with my mates!
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