Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Film About A Band That Isn't Here Any More (rated 4 stars)

In Grant Gee’s Joy Division he tells the story of the band and those surrounding it. It’s stylish filmmaking and he pieces together the interviews, photographs, sounds and archival footage skillfully to create a full and moving portrait of a band that only had two albumns before the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. Gee’s previous music documentary about Radiohead and their OK Computer tour, Meeting People is Easy was a downbeat and fascinating existential look at the soul-draining process of a gruelling tour. With Joy Division Gee relies on archival footage and audio presented in a visually interesting way. It’s respectful and for me it provided context for the Manchester scene and the people there. Some of the visual touches are quite clever with a running motif of titles that identify “Places That Aren’t There Any More” and displaying iTunes-like visualizations for audio-only interviews. It has just enough of the story and music to tell the story and give us a glimpse into the lives of the people who formed the band and who were left behind.

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