Tag Archives: music

“Amy” by Asif Kapadia (2015)

Documentaries are my favourite genre. And documentaries related to music personae in particular.

Kapadia got access to private archives of Amy Winehouse’s family and friends. Thanks to that, we received an in depth presentation of who Amy Winehouse was prior to releasing her hit album Back to Black which turned her life upside down.

In one of the first scenes Amy sings a simple “Happy Birthday” to her friend filming her. She was 14 at the time and her voice already gave incredible chills to my spine.
Her voice was great, she was a hard working musician throughout her career, however, unfortunately, she was prone to influences, which led her to drugs and alcohol addictions.
From the film, we find out through the words of none other but Tony Bennett himself, that Amy Winehouse was a great jazz vocalist.

The film is a bit too long, also I was missing the hard data of numbers – e.g. it is not stated when she was born, and how old she was when she passed. The general knowledge is that she joined the infamous 27 Club. At the age of 27 she died of alcohol poisoning. And that was the age that many other great artists passed away. Such as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Kobain…

Great film telling the story of a tragic and incredibly sensitive artist – Amy Winehouse. A great watch.

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Filed under 2015 cinema releases

Take Me to the River by Martin Shore (2014)

This thing happened to me for the very first time.
Sitting at the cinema during the screening of this film, the 4th wall has been fully broken for me.

Given this is a documentary set mainly in a musical studio, and given I am not sure what was the initial idea behind this – I may have fallen into a mighty musical trap. I watched people rehearse, sing, write music, transpose keys, talk and have fun. And I felt as if I were present inside the studio with them. I clapped, I murmured the rhythm and the songs, I cheered the artists.

Never mind the people in the audience, never mind them thinking I was crazy. I am. A sucker for blues, a sucker for jazz, a sucker for good notes and rhythm.

Yes, this is what happened to me during the screening of this film.

So, I guess, this should serve as a recommendation. Best film I have seen in a very very very long time.

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Filed under blues, PKO Off Camera 2015

Love Hunter (2013) by Branislav ‘Brane’ Bala, Nemanja Bala #WFF2013

Milan (as himself) is a Serbian rock star over 40, who drives a yellow cab in NYC and in the meantime works on material for his next album – to be recorded in Manhattan.
Although seemingly shallow, this film is nothing like that. The universal truths about life are expressed from various angles giving the audience the chance to pick a side. Is it a regular job in a suit that is most important in life or is it following your dreams working somewhere below your potential, which however allows you for fulfilling your dreams of music making/ or anything else one might pick…
A very warm and hopeful story of how lives can take us where we want, but sometimes the circumstances will surprise us. Amazing film.

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Filed under film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2013

Searching for Sugar Man by Malik Bendjelloul (2012)

searching-for-sugar-man
This film is a must watch for several reasons.

One – because it is a fascinating story, two because of the incredible music and three and probably most of all for the cinema geeks out there – the cinematography in this one.

Swedish-British-SouthAfrican coproduction results in a project where a Swedish cinematographer – Camilla Skagerström did marvels. Rarely do we have a documentary looking this good.

The story has been dug out by Saffa music journalists back in 1990’s. Sixto Rodriguez was a cult artist in South Africa in 1970’s. However, completely unknown in his native America. Rodriguez was more popular in Cape Town than Elvis or even the Rolling Stones. Given the political separation of South Africa from the rest of the world – the artist didn’t know this and the legend in the country of success went that he was dead.
With the development of internet, it turned out that he is not dead and he went to Africa for a tour, where the story actually unveils.
The music sounds well so many years after Rodriguez recorded his first of the two albums (1970 and 1971). Having heard only one of his songs on the radio (“I wonder”) – it stayed in my head for weeks. Such is his music’s power. It is unclear up till now as to why he got no recognition in America. But these are dry facts. A genius musician and artist whose life went differently to how it could have gone. Which is yet another reason to watch this film.
A must – and it’s nominated for the Oscar this year.

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Filed under 2012 cinema releases, film reviews