Been reflecting bunches on origins – stories, process, short essays. More recently, a short list of inspiring, often referenced sources. It’s had me thinking more about films I employ in describing what I’m looking to create. I’ve mentioned Blank City (documentary about No Wave cinema) as a great example for uncommon anecdotes and visually engaging style. I also look to other narrative, documentary and at times specific segments of films, to extend on as I construct this project. Here’s a few I call on often.
24 Hour Party People (2002)
This Manchester music scene biopic is a standout amongst many narrative films based on real events. Events unfold via Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan), a well known UK TV personality and impresario. Coogan’s constant breaking of the 4th wall brings the audience in, up close and personal through the machinations (imagined or otherwise) of this course-changing scene.
Opening credit sequence for “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)
Minimal title sequence by the godfather of motion graphics in cinema, Pablo Ferro is nothing short of a creative breakthrough. Not because of an advanced technical quality, rather because of it’s relative simplicity (see it employed more recently, in this upcoming Bob Mould doc) making way for Gilbert Taylor’s lush cinematography. For me, it stands as a fresh take on the stiff, printing press-like titles embodying a kind of DIY seldom seen at that point.
Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975 (2011)
The filmmakers create an engaging timeline by juxtaposing noteworthy footage with voiceovers of present time interviews with activists and artists. One of the more powerful sequences comes early with archival footage of Stokely Carmichael underscored by Talib Kweli as he recounts being detained by TSA for listening to one of Carmichael’s speeches.
Told through the eyes of Swedish cineastes, this pivotal movement experiences a distinct perspective that informs and engages critical thought. I’ve come back to it often, for both content and style inspiration.
And Everything Is Going Fine (2010)
This expertly edited film about writer/actor/performer Spaulding Grey breathes layered life to his legacy. A myriad of performance and interview footage provides an intimate and at times vulnerable view of the artist. I was surprised because his monologues are so raw in their truth, I didn’t think there was much left to garner. Watching this documentary brought me in closer, experiencing him as a flawed human being, preoccupied with existence and the stimulating ways in which he translated all these into unforgettable performances.
Technically speaking, the choice of content and how it was sequenced seemed intentional puzzle pieces logically sewn together. From start to finish, I was lost in the story with little to no sense these weren’t originally shot to fit together. This piece serves as a brilliant example of incredible talent on the part of the filmmakers in showcasing the heart and soul of the subject.