Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#7 Rip! A Remix Manifesto (2008)

When I saw "Rip! A Remix Manifesto" for the first time it was at the Aarhus Film Festival. My first thought when I came out of the cinema was: I feel so happy and energetic! Exalted! I can't remember the last time I've been feeling like this coming out from a film.

The director apparently calls it an "open source documentary film about the changing concept of copyright". True. It's also one big feel good vibe that will rub your either the right or wrong way depending on which side you're on in the copyright debate. But most importantly it challenges the idea of very far reaching copyright with some very good arguments.
It's also a "meta movie", so to speak. Because it goes even further proving it's point by allowing creative people to remix the movie itself. And thus showing what good can come of letting go of too strict copyrights.

The movie exposes a lot of hypocrisy and has valid points. The Rolling Stones sued The Verve for ripping them off for "Bitter Sweet Symphony". But their whole career they have done nothing but ripping off the songs and sounds that originally came from the blues legends - who then again found their songs in the cotton fields. Disney is another example. First they "let themselves be inspired" and then they copyright. The just nailed it at the right time in history. Copyright was an alright concept at first - the film argues - but was then taken too far. It totally limits creativity.

The electronic act Girltalk is used as the example in the movie. He steals and samples everything and parties hard. I can't say I think his music sounds any good, but that's a different discussion. The film itself I find infinitely inspirational. For many reasons. One beautiful example being the moment where we see young Brazilian kids learning to sample and scratch in music class in school.

This film sparks an interesting and worthwhile debate in the age of the internet citizen and the digital artist. As did another film done by Danish journalist and filmmaker Ralf Christensen. His film "Good Copy Bad Copy" explores the exact same themes and uses many of the same sources, but takes a more sober approach, so to speak. Also recommended viewing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#6 Blur: No Distance Left To Run (2010)

August 2012. Blur is back in fashion. Touring again - while at the same time being vague about them continuing to work together. Last chance to see? They just played Denmark and then headed back home to finish up at the London Olympics.

Incidentally (!) they're releasing a insanely massive retrospective box set called "Blur 21". Because they're 21, they say. Well, subtract the years they been apart doing other things you might get a different number. Never mind.

In 2009 when the all four of them got back together again a camera crew followed them on their British tour. In the 2010 documentary "No Distance Left To Run" we get not only their rise to fame story, but also the story of the tour as well as getting to dip our toes in the personal stuff.

It's an enjoyable film. Simply because most of the lads are very likable and their music is good. But to me it felt like it was stretching it a bit with wanting to do all this at once - and hence lacking something. The frame of the film is their reunion, but it doesn't work entirely well for the flow of the film.

Everyone except Damon seems like they feel like talking. And every time they get into a bit of a nasty spot about their history together they just scratch the surface. I'm not saying I want all the dirt dug up, but the film annoyingly let's them get away with mostly hinting at things. The filmmakers seemed content with just dancing around interesting subjects and let them get away with saying "all is good now". With the band's current vagueness regarding their future in mind the film seems to after all present a bit of a glossy picture.

It lacks in these departments, but that does not mean that it is not an enjoyable film. It will be for Blur fans, obviously, but also most people who enjoy music as more than just wallpaper. A good film that still feels a bit like a missed opportunity. Or maybe there just isn't more to say?

The film climaxes at the Glastonbury Festival with a beautiful moment that allows you to think about the power of music as a magical thing to bring people together - and not the calculating reality of the music industry. Yes, a much needed reminder that music is a universal language. So, thanks for that.

On the 2-disc dvd set a two hour concert from Hyde park is also included. Great show, lads!