Saturday, October 31

Metal and Control

Let's get one thing straight: I really love music. I am not an audiophile, but the feeling of finding some new bands that no one has ever heard of and then finding out they are actually GOOD, is second to none to me.

Something that might already be obvious, but that I want to get straight too: I am in love with films. Hell, I am even studying the bastards. Enough said.

Last night and the night before that I watched a film about music, which allowed me to write the most smug blog of all time, since they combined two things I like to be smug about.

Right. So the first one was Metal: a Headbangers Journey, a documentary about heavy metal in all it's nasty appearances. The other was Control, a biopic about Ian Curtis. He was the singer for Joy Division, a late-seventies British band that you should know about, if only for this song:

So, two completely different films, yet both pretty good and really interesting.

To start off with Metal. The film is made by a guy of about 23, who has been a metalhead for pretty much all his life. He explains metal to the public in this film. He discusses it's alleged misogyny, the whole satanism thing, the musical roots and a lot more. It's a pretty interesting documentary. And I think it had the worst possible effect on me: after watching this movie, I think less of metal culture then before.

I like to think of myself as an open-minded person. I have had some friends who were really into the whole metal business, and they were nice chaps. So I began watching this movie with a mindset of tolerance: these were going to be nice guys explaining their hobby to other nice guys. How wrong I had been.

Perhaps I'm taking this whole thing a little too seriously. It is just that as the movie went on, the more I got the impression that most of these guys were just mindless "fuck everything" shocker guys. Some of them seemed really nice and intelligent, like Ronnie James Dio (damn he is small) and the singer of Iron Maiden. It was hardly surprising that Lemmy wasn't the brightest bulb in the box. But this guy from Gorgoroth or the people of Mayhem just struck me as idiots at best. At worst, they struck me as guys who would make necklaces from the pieces of skull their lead singer just distributed through the room by putting a shotgun - oh wait. They did that. After making pictures that later became an album cover. And before they planned on eating his brain.

Seriousely, what is the message of these people? Shocking to expose flaws in society is something I fully support, but this really is insane. And trust me, I don't use that word lightly.

But even the non-brain-eating people that were interviewed in the film didn't struck me as really bright. Some dude from Slayer, for instance, was asked about their song God Hates Us All. His response was pretty much: "God doesn't hate us. But it is a fucking good title." I might be taking it all too serious, but this makes me a little sad.

Moving hastily on to Control. It is a film made by Anton Corbijn, whose name you definitely should know. He is a rock photographer (I love those words together) and a director of music videos. Now he has done a feature-length film. So, pretentious artsy bullshit about some emoboy avant la lettre? It is definitely "artsy", but the rest of the accusations are simply not there.

Since the director is a photographer, it could be expected that this is a very visual film. That might sound strange for a film about music, but after 5 minutes you realize that almost every shot would make a picture you could hang above your bed. It really is that beautiful, and the black-and-white make it really brooding and moody in a very honest kind of way. This guy was really depressed.

And the funny thing about his depression is that you're never pushed to sympathize. Lots of drama films are trying to make you give a shit about the main character by understanding his emotions. Not his one. It just shows what was happening at the time. The impact of this is stronger then I can explain here: if you genuinely think the main character is a wanker after 20 minutes instead of a hero, then that is definitely revolutionary film making. Consider how many assholes you have sympathized with while watching movies: Hannibal Lector, Harvey Two-face and pretty much anyone in a Tarantino film. But Ian Curtis, while being actually just a pretty normal bloke, is never fully explained. This is just the was he was: deal with it. This might sound strange, but it really works.

The music is great, of course, and the acting is solid. It is not my favorite film or anything, but is definitely is worth watching for the experimental approach. It also comes closest to the style of I'm Not There, which IS one of my favorite films. But more on that one later.

So, two solid films. Control is really recommended and Metal is an interesting watch for those who want to know more about the subject. Check them out.

Keep up the good work, Anton and Sam.


P.S. Just thought this up: applying Alias's Law to Metal would result in a bunch of heavy metal bands fighting off legions of zombies. Just picture that. Holy Fuck. They should make a video game out of - oh wait. They did. More on that later.

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