The New Zealand International Film Festival today announced seven music films confirmed for the 2012 programme.
Shut Up and Play the Hits
Directors: Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern
“The wonderful LCD Soundsystem documentary/concert film Shut Up and Play the Hits chronicles for posterity the revered dance band’s final concert in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden… The film documents an artist intent on going out on top, even if it means leaving an army of devoted fans salivating for more – especially if it leaves an army of devoted fans salivating for more… At its ecstatic, delirious best, Shut Up and Play the Hits is a profoundly spiritual and emotional experience, a once-in-a-lifetime coming together of 18,000 people and a score of musicians under the spell of a man intent on giving himself and his audience the best goddamned going away party ever.” – Nathan Rabin, AV Club
Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle
Director: Lian Lunson
The albums of the McGarrigle sisters are surely for the ages, with their plangent harmonies and their worldly, Arcadian-inflected songs of true love, broken hearts and wandering spirits. Sadly, younger sister Kate died in 2010 at the age of 63. Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You captures, superbly, the heart-achingly gorgeous New York concert mounted in tribute by her rather talented family – children Rufus and Martha Wainwright and older sisters Anna and Jane, along with a wider musical whanau.
Searching for Sugar Man
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Singing hurting ballads and songs of social protest, Sixto Rodriguez recorded two albums in Detroit in the early 70s. Both flopped in the US, but in Cape Town, South Africa they made him bigger than Elvis. In the absence of subsequent albums his legend grew: he had committed suicide on stage, overdosed, burned himself alive. Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul approaches his subject through the detective work of two South African fans who set out in the 90s to find out what had really happened. They followed the money – which is a classic Rock and Roll story in itself – and found themselves spear-heading a new era in Rodriguez recognition.
Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigridur Nielsdottir
Directors/Screenplay: Orri Jonsson, Kristin Bjork Kristjansdottir, Ingibjorg Birgisdottir
Appropriately shot on Super-8 and replete with analogue special effects (aka collages), this film introduces us to a legendary little old lady of Icelandic music, Sigridur Nielsdottir. She had made music all her life but never recorded any of it until her children gave her a cassette recorder for her 71st birthday. She put down her first album in 2001, created her own cover art and distributed her output in person from a shopping trundler. Playing keyboard and various household appliances that made interesting sounds, she had written 600 songs and produced 59 homemade albums before calling it a day. Nielsdottir was quickly embraced by the independent music scene in Iceland, with Bjork and members of Sigur Ros and Mum tipping their hats.
Neil Young Journeys
Director: Jonathan Demme
“Jonathan Demme’s third concert film with Neil Young, Neil Young Journeys, is a solo affair for which the singer’s in excellent voice and a contemplative mood… Interspersing a concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall with a back-roads trip through Omemee, Ontario and other childhood haunts, the director listens as Young meanders down memory lane…” Ã¢â‚¬â€ John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
Director: Eduardo Coutinho
A rich array of Cariocas (inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro), men and women of all ages and ethnicities, accept an invitation from veteran documentarian Eduardo Coutinho to tell us about their favourite song – then sing it themselves, a cappella. One by one they take a seat on an empty stage to face his camera and his questions. Maybe the song played a crucial role in a crucial relationship, or it’s one forever associated with a parent or a remembered moment of intense happiness. The candour Coutinho draws from his subjects is inspiring, and even when the memories seem as perfectly formed as the songs themsevles, there’s little doubt that we are seeing hearts bravely laid bare.
Last Days Here
Directors: Don Argott, Demian Fenton
The hugely engrossing, stranger-than-fiction documentary Last Days Here tracks three roller coaster years in the recent life of 50something burnout Bobby Liebling, the outrageous frontman of 70s doom metal band Pentagram. Co-directors Don Argott and Demian Fenton have created a deft and weirdly affecting portrait of how a drug-addicted man-child knocking on death’s door manages an astonishing resurgence. “Bobby Liebling looks like Gandalf on crack, which, in a way, he is.” Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
The Festival will begin in Auckland (19 July – August 5) and open simultaneously in Wellington and Dunedin a week later (27 July – August 12), then in Christchurch (9—26 August). Further regional dates are being advised on the website as they are confirmed.
Festival programmes will be available online and around town from June 26 in Auckland, and June 29 in Wellington. For Festival updates visit www.nzff.co.nz and register to receive e-newsletters.