Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#4 Radiohead: Meeting People Is Easy (1998)

Radiohead. Love 'em or hate 'em. The inevitable backlash is already on and ardent fans act the defenders. Always happens. I've been a fan for many years, but have in recent years had the experience that their newest albums made the previous ones sound better than I originally thought they were. In short, a downward trajectory, as the band crawls into their own shell. But I still love this film.

"Meeting People Is Easy" catches the band at the height of their powers. Back when I also was blown away by the magnificent "OK Computer". It's a somewhat fragmented film, but intentionally so.

It shows the less glorious side of the rock'n'roll fame game. Endless traveling, endless waiting around, endless lines of interviewers with stupid questions. Endless backslapping, awards and jetlagged existence. And you never get to see all the amazing cities you visit, because you have to do press and soundcheck. Luckily the film captures Tokyo, Barcelona, Berlin etc. beautifully and sets it to, yes, the music - which is actually also in the film.

In the hands of director Grant Gee it makes for a unique film experience very much of its time. Just as "OK Computer" was and which sparked all the madness. Kudos must go in spades to Grant Gee for deflating the easy rock'n'roll lifestyle myth - or at least inflating an entirely new mythology. It's almost like you can physically feel the madness when you watch the film. This is a film that should make a lot of dreamers reconsider becoming rockstars.

Even if you might find Radiohead annoying and whiny (Come on, you're famous. Be happy!) the film can be experienced and enjoyed on different levels. Be it, the music, the visuals, the music biz, the media madness or the snapshot of modern society on Planet Earth at the end of the millenium - the overpowering weight of 'fin de siècle'.

This is one of the four music documentaries that I have now blogged about in which I found inspiration for doing my own film - besides also digging into the works of Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders.

There does not seem to be a trailer for this film, but it's online in it's full length in various places. I doubt it's entirely legal.

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