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Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard (2011)

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From myth to legend Rowland Howard appeared on the early Melbourne punk scene like a phantom out of Kafkaesque Prague or Bram Stoker's Dracula. A beautifully gaunt and gothic aristocrat, ... See full summary »

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(concept), (excerpts from the manuscript "ETCETERACIDE" by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Rowland S. Howard ...
Himself - Interviewee
Genevieve McGuckin ...
Herself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Interviewee
Mick Harvey ...
Himself - Interviewee
J.P. Shilo ...
Himself - Interviewee
Lydia Lunch ...
Herself - Interviewee
Adalita Srsen ...
Herself - Interviewee (as Adalita)
Jonnine Standish ...
Herself - Interviewee
Bobby Gillespie ...
Himself - Interviewee
Harry Howard ...
Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bronwyn Adams ...
Herself -Interviewee
Barry Adamson ...
Himself - Interviewee
Greg Ades ...
Himself - Interviewee
Janet Austin ...
Herself -Interviewee
Katy Beale ...
Herself -Interviewee
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Storyline

From myth to legend Rowland Howard appeared on the early Melbourne punk scene like a phantom out of Kafkaesque Prague or Bram Stoker's Dracula. A beautifully gaunt and gothic aristocrat, the unique distinctive fury of his guitar style shot him directly into the imagination of a generation. He was impeccable, the austerity of his artistry embodied in his finely wrought form, his obscure tastes and his intelligently wry wit. He radiated a searing personal integrity that never seemed to tarnish. Despite the trials and tribulations of his career, in an age of makeover and reinvention, Rowland Howard never 'sold out'. With recent and moving interviews, archival interviews and other fascinating and original footage, AUTOLUMINESCENT traces the life of Rowland S Howard. Capturing moments with the man himself and intimate missives from those who knew him behind closed doors; words and images etch light into what has always been the mysterious dark.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Documentary | Music

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Release Date:

25 April 2013 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

R.I.P Noonie 1988 - 2011 See more »

Connections

Features Beauty and the Beast (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

You And Or Her
written by Rowland S. Howard (as R. Howard)
performed by The Young Charlatans
courtesy of Genevieve McGuckin and Bruce Milne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
He floated into our world fully-formed, like some ghostly aristocrat...
29 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a nice portrait of a unique guitar player with a noisy yet melodic style, whose presence helped define a decade or more of primitive, arty and ambitious rock music.

It relies on first hand accounts by a number of people close to Howard, including Nick Cave, Wim Wenders and Howard himself. Interspersed with waist-up interview shots are clips from various club and festival gigs, and a few still photographs.

They pay special attention to the seeming contrast between Howard's droll sense of humor and the rather tragic melancholy of his music, and to some extent, his countenance.

Like most rock docs, it has a sort of up then down trajectory that traces the subject's rise to prominence and subsequent fall into despair. But Autoluminescent doesn't really dwell on the drugs or the sickness or the failed romances. Instead, it uses them to set up each segment of the artist's musical development, from teenage prodigy to prodigal middle- aged son, returning to form from the brink of irrelevance.

Cave's recollections seem especially affectionate, while rock doc stalwart Henry Rolllins seems typically awestruck by having crossed paths with such a transcendent talent.

You get a good appreciation for the high regard in which Howard's contemporaries held his playing style, despite the difficulties they had maintaining personal connections with the man.

I came away wanting to delve much further into his discography, beyond the Birthday Party stuff which mostly defines his career.


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