Revelation. Last year, Perth’s premier celebration of cinema gave us choice flicks on Iggy Pop, Nico and Betty Davis. This time round it’s better still with screenings of some of the finest films you can hope to catch this side of Cannes.
So let’s not waste any time here. Here are 10 music-related screenings you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
As one of jazz’s pivotal figures, Miles Davis’ legendary abrasiveness was matched only by the intensity of his talent. Whether you’re a Kind of Blue person or more taken by the psychedelic artwork of his Hendrix-inspired electric period, each of Davis’ works remain mind-bending testaments to his creative vision. Having unearthed a whole raft of archival footage in addition to new interviews with those whom Miles inspired, director Stanley Nelson’s take on this cantankerous innovator serves itself up as an interesting prospect indeed.
The Juniper Tree
Björk fans rejoice. After lingering in obscurity for more than two decades B. Guðmundsdóttir’s critically acclaimed acting debut has finally been unearthed and restored to its proper glory. Just be warned, it’s a little grim.
David Crosby: Remember My Name
David Crosby is an enduring face of sixties counterculture. Yet like so many other idealists of his age, the love lethal 1970s saw this ex-The Byrds and Crosby Stills and Nash co-founder increasingly entangled in a web of guns, celebrity and addictive drugs. (The eighties were no kinder.) With his 78th birthday fast approaching Croz is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in popularity. Remember My Name is a documentary which explores this legacy. More than a straight biography, A.J. Eaton’s warts-and-all depiction will no doubt shed new light on this colourful yet troubled artist.
A Dog Called Money
Following on from PJ Harvey’s well-received eighth album Let England Shake, 2016’s Hope Six Demolition Project – a record written during a trip through some of the most impoverished corners of Kosovo, Afghanistan and the boondocks of Washington D.C. – was met with mixed reactions. Some thought PJ was in need of checking her rock star privilege but perhaps her observations were simply too visceral and real. Somewhere between a travelogue, multimedia performance and making-of-the-album doc, ‘A Dog Called Money’ is the story of Polly’s journey.
Maybe It’s Luck?
Yeah, but what about local music? Well, try this one on for size. Premiering as a Revelation exclusive ‘Maybe It’s Luck?’ tells the story of Kerb, a motley assortment of Perth punks who served it up mean ‘n’ dirty in the ‘90s before parting ways before Y2K. To call this film a retrospective would be misleading, instead, it follows optimistic bandleader Steve Browne in his efforts to gather the boys back together for what he believes will be their comeback. This is no small task as the band’s members are now scattered across the globe. And to be frank? It doesn’t seem like the odds are stacked in this protagonist’s favour. Will this end as a tragedy, comedy or a punk epic?
Carmine Street Guitars
Set smack bang in the middle of the spiritual birthplace of Bob Dylan and American Bohemia Greenwich Village, ‘Carmine Street Guitars’ tells the story of an earth-friendly mom and pop guitar store struggling to stay afloat amidst dramatic waves of New York gentrification. No doubt this film will cast light on questions such as, “Do small music businesses like these have future?” And, “If not, where exactly will the informal communities of learning these spaces facilitate go?” But if such chin stroking propositions hold no excitement just know ‘Carmine’ is worth it for the appearance of Nuggets compiler, doo-wop expert, and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. (Jim Jarmusch, Charlie Sexton, Bill Frisell, Jamie Hince, Marc Ribot, Christine Bougie, Nels Cline and Eszter Balint will also be making an appearance.)
Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records
Delete that Ocean Alley from your playlist. Ditch the Madness and those Reel Big Fish records too. And forget that guy we’re told that it all started with Bob Marley as well because what we’re talking here is ska. The real stuff. ‘Rude Boy’ is a documentary about the intermingling of Jamaican Rastas, English skinheads and other assorted geezers which produced some of the most insistently catchy records the ‘60s and early ‘70s had on offer. The flick also boasts a righteous cast of commentators including Lee Scratch Perry, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Neville Staple, Pauline Black, Toots, Sly and Robbie and Marcia Griffiths.
Johnny Rotten might have been worried about getting gobbed on and Henry Rollins may have taken more than a few beer bottles to the face but Punk rock behind the iron curtain was something else. The kind of people who made anarchic and revolutionary music at the tail end of Russia’s communist era were a special kind of crazy. Leto is a quasi-biopic of a group of angry young Leningrad dreamers who slid out from the thumb of an oppressive government and let it rock. Grabbing the Soundtrack Award at Cannes 2018 this film boasts music from The Velvet Underground, Bowie, and T. Rex as well as covers of Talking Heads and Iggy Pop.
Metal Heart is the story of Irish sisters Emma and Chantal. As you well may now have guessed the two are a little different. Chantal is beautiful. She’s confident as well and knows exactly where it is she’s headed in life. Pretty and popular, a high achiever. Emma? Emma wants to start a band.
This last recommendation comes as an open-hearted nod to all those tragically avant-garde soundtrack buffs out there. Revelation is serving up some serious sci-fi, making it the perfect environment for someone looking to kick back and listening to the scores in hi-fidelity. Minimalist soundtracks one might dig include Jerry Goldsmith’s ‘Alien’ score (which often played with the cinematic convention of the day) as well as Gil Mellé’s ’ ’The Andromeda Strain’ and John Charles’ ominous accompaniment to ‘The Quiet Earth’.
Bonus: Your Own Film!
Get off your keister and do-it-yourself! Revelation is putting on a whole hog o’ workshops. These no-experience-necessary workshops and panels come perfectly suited for those looking to get a foot in the door in the world of film and TV. To top it all off – and we’re sorry for fanning your directorial ambitions here – there’s even a special event called ‘Blind Date Music Completion’. Here local musicians and filmmakers are encouraged to submit their own music videos to be screened and judged during the festival.
Revelation Perth International Festival is returning this July. Details here.