Station to Station
The lineup for the third installment of our vibrant music documentary series Sound + Vision has been announced and will run from July 29 – August 7. The series, a feast for the eyes and ears, is a true testament to the enduring and mutually enriching relationship between cinema and music. Offering exciting premieres and retrospectives, the series explores a range of diverse artists, genres, and styles from around the world. Opening Night kicks off with Danny Says, Brendan Toller’s “pure gold” (Variety) documentary on the life and times of counterculture icon Danny Fields.
The subjects of this year's selections include undersung heroes of Latin boogaloo, Jamaican ska, and outlaw country; a train full of today’s greatest musicians and visual artists on a cross-country journey to create unforgettable performances; and the psychedelic collaboration between Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma. Classical fans will get a glimpse into the life of composer Joseph Haydn—who was crucial in shaping the sound of chamber music—with In Search of Haydn, presented in partnership with Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. Julien Temple, the legendary documentarian, music-video director, and fellow traveler of seminal English rockers like The Clash, The Kinks, and the Sex Pistols, also gets his due with a retrospective highlighting his greatest and his latest, The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson.
The series will feature an exciting work-in-progress screening of Paul Rachman’s Lost Rockers, celebrating the talents of eight singer-songwriters from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s who were on the cusp of fame but never quite made it, yet remain thriving musicians today. Our year-round live music spinoff of the festival, Sound + Vision Live, will present multimedia performances by New York-based artists Talibam!, Preston Spurlock & Friends, and Foxes in Fiction in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater. To cap it all off, we're teaming with Lincoln Center Out of Doors for a free, outdoor screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Damrosch Park on Friday, August 7. While dancing and singing is strongly encouraged, the event will be “Silent,” with audiences hearing the audio through wireless headphones provided at the screening.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, July 9. See more for less with a 3+ Film Package or an All Access Pass!
They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile
Brendan Toller, USA, 2015, DCP, 105m
A child prodigy from Brooklyn who went from the hallowed halls of Harvard Law to being a “hippie yenta” at Warhol’s Factory, Danny Fields lived a punk-rock fantasy—long before punk even had a name. Fast friends with Nico and Edie Sedgwick, Fields served as manager for bands like The Stooges and the Ramones, garnering them major label deals, and was the journalist who broke John Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” gaffe. Full of outrageous, hilarious anecdotes recounted by counterculture heroes Iggy Pop and Justin Vivian Bond (among many others), Danny Says is essential viewing for any self-respecting music fan.
Wednesday, July 29, 6:30pm (Q&A with Brendan Toller and producer Pamela Lubell)
Mariana Aydar, Joaquim Castro & Eduardo Nazarian, Brazil, 2014, DCP, 79m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Born in Brazil’s impoverished northeast region, the titular singer, composer, and master of the accordion rose to international prominence playing with bossa nova hitmakers like Toquinho and tropicalia greats like Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil. Collecting a variety of new interviews with his collaborators, rare archival footage, and toe-tapping performances, this portrait manages to be both informative and moving to longtime fans and accessible to those who are learning of his talents for the first time. Co-presented with Cinema Tropical.
Wednesday, July 29, 9:30pm
James Szalapski, USA, 1976, HDCAM, 92m
Mandatory viewing for any country music fan! Featuring early performances by Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, The Charlie Daniels Band, David Allan Coe, and several other members of the “Outlaw Country” movement, this previously hard-to-find documentary chronicles intimate moments with the musicians who changed the sound of Nashville forever. From glimpses of their hard-partying, friendly-pickin’ ways to seeing Van Zandt bring the legendary Uncle Seymour Washington to tears with a heartfelt rendition of “Waiting Around to Die,” Szalapski’s camera captures every facet of this important cultural moment just before it broke.
Thursday, August 6, 6:30pm (Q&A with producer Graham Leader)
Heartworn Highways Revisited
Heartworn Highways Revisited
Wayne Price, USA, 2015, DCP, 93m
Just like in the mid-’70s when Heartworn Highways was made, mainstream country music’s sound has become formulaic, more intent on moving easily digested product instead of hearts. Channeling the spirit and unhurried, intimate style of Szalapski’s original, director Wayne Price follows talented young musicians (Bobby Bare Jr., Shelly Colvin, Andrew Combs, Justin Townes Earle, Robert Ellis, Jonny Fritz, Josh Hedley, Phil Hummer, Nikki Lane, Langhorne Slim, John McCauley, and Shovels & Rope) working on the periphery of the Nashville scene as they pick, perform, and try to balance their craft with their daily lives. A worthy update as well as a compelling portrait of the torchbearers for an under-recognized tradition within country music.
Thursday, August 6, 9:00pm (Introduction by producer Graham Leader)
In Search of Haydn
Phil Grabsky, UK, 2012, DCP, 102m
Phil Grabsky follows up his two previous investigations of the life and work of Beethoven and Mozart with a look at one of their most important contemporaries: Joseph Haydn, a thoroughly inventive composer who crucially shaped the sound and format of chamber music. Enlightening, engrossing, and unpretentious interviews with musicians, conductors, and historians are bolstered by world-class performances of Haydn’s extensive oeuvre, opening up the world of classical music and musical theory. Grabsky’s vital and edifying work stands as a corrective to the composer’s unfairly underrated position in the world of orchestral music. Co-presented with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
Saturday, August 1, 1:00pm (Introduction by Phil Grabsky)
Legends of Ska: Cool & Copasetic
Brad Klein, USA/Jamaica/Canada, 2013, digital projection, 102m
Whereas second- or third-wave ska bands like The Specials or No Doubt maintain a degree of visibility through North American radio play, the Jamaican originators of the genre often get short shrift. Brad Klein sought to correct this imbalance. On July 12-13, 2002, Klein mounted two massive concerts in Toronto with early-’60s ska superstars like Prince Buster, Derrick Morgan, Stranger Cole, Alton Ellis, Millicent “Patsy” Todd, and the Skatalites. The concert was documented, and, over a decade, shaped into a concert film interspersed with funny and poignant interviews with band members. Also includes a hilarious cameo from Keith Richards!
Monday, August 3, 6:30pm (Q&A with Brad Klein and percussionist Larry McDonald)
Paul Rachman, USA, 2015, digital projection, 76m
There have been plenty of films and pensées about superstars whose grasp on fame slipped away (for whatever reason) as well as the hangers-on and groupies who loved them. But what about those barn burners who never quite made it? The director of American Hardcore delves into the lives of eight very different singer-songwriters from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s who had high-profile producers (like John Lennon) or relationships with stars (like T. Rex), didn’t become famous, but still continue to make music today. A fantastic mixtape with a lot of heart, Rachman’s film is a long overdue corrective for these significant talents. Work-in-progress screening!
Thursday, July 30, 6:30pm (Q&A with Paul Rachman, writer-producer Steven Blush, subjects Chris Robison, David Peel, Gass Wylde, Jake Holmes, and special guests)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Free and open to the public!
Jim Sharman, UK/USA, 1975, digital projection, 100m
Grab the nearest virgin you know, drag them to this midnight-movie classic, and dare to do the time warp again! After the car of straitlaced couple Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) breaks down, they encounter a weird mansion full of over-sexed, cross-dressing aliens. Although the event will be “silent” (the audience will hear the audio through wireless headphones provided at the screening), talking back to the film and singing are still, of course, strongly encouraged. Co-presented with Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2015.
Friday, August 7, 10:45pm*
*Venue: Damrosch Park
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story
N.C. Heikin, USA, 2014, DCP, 84m
At age 7, Frank Morgan saw Charlie Parker in concert and was inspired to take up playing the sax. A true prodigy, Morgan was touring playing backup for greats like Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker by age 15, and was hailed the inheritor of his hero by age 23. Soon after, his life was consumed by a crippling heroin addiction, which led to his frequent incarceration over the course of 30 years. Once clean, Morgan shook off the title of tragic legend and reclaimed his throne. Through interviews with eminent jazz scholars and the musicians he collaborated with, this documentary tells Morgan’s tale of redemption.
Sunday, August 2, 1:30pm (Q&A with N.C. Heikin and producer/novelist Michael Connelly)
Station to Station
Multimedia artist Doug Aitken embarked on what is easily the most ambitious cross-country rail journey of the 21st century: over 24 days, he traveled from New York to California aboard a nine-car train full of musicians, visual artists, and curators, stopping along the way to mount dazzling, site-specific happenings. Comprised of 62 one-minute films that document the before, during, and after of each participant’s experience/performance, this incredible experiment in cross-country creativity includes musical luminaries like Ariel Pink, Thurston Moore, THEEsatisfaction, Cat Power, Suicide, Giorgio Moroder, and a dozen others. This exquisite and eclectic grab bag of a doc is not to be missed.
Thursday, July 30, 9:00pm
Misha Hollenbach & Johann Rashid, USA/Australia, 2014, digital projection, 64m
A psychedelic visualization of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe aka Lichens (star of A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness) and Ariel Kalma’s double album We Know Each Other Somehow. Hollenbach and Rashid documented the duo’s collaboration on 8mm and grainy, handheld HD video, and then augmented sections of the footage using a Fairlight Computer Video Instrument (CVI). The results are as kaleidoscopic and nonlinear as the music: Lowe and Kalma geek out over technique, wander along beaches seeking inspiration (or just breaking between sessions), and record tracks, suggesting that there’s nothing that isn’t potentially a part of their creative process.
Wednesday, August 5, 6:30pm (Q&A with Johann Rashid and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe)
They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile
Johanna Schwartz, UK, 2015, DCP, 105mEnglish, French, Songhay, Bambara, and Tamashek with English subtitles
Is it possible to have a day without music? For a time in Mali, many people didn’t have a choice. They Will Have to Kill Us First is an impassioned look at the heartrending events that inspired Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu. In 2012, Islamist militants occupied cities across the north and imposed strict sharia law. All music—including ringtones—was banned. Johanna Schwartz’s documentary follows musicians who fled, and who during their exile attempt to mount a concert under the threat of violence. Their infectious, bluesy songs reflect Mali’s rich musical history, which remained triumphant in the face of oppression.
Tuesday, August 4, 6:30pm (Q&A with Johanna Schwartz)
We Like It Like That – The Story of Latin Boogaloo
Mathew Ramirez Warren, USA, 2014, DCP, 81m
Boogaloo—which fuses R&B, doo-wop, and soul with mambo and other Caribbean styles and polyrhythms—is a vibrant sound that originated on the streets of New York in the 1950s and ’60s and went on to move hips all around the world. Reflective of the civil-rights struggles happening at the time, these scrappy teenage musicians openly challenged the powers that be and record labels representing buttoned-up Latin artists (who later collaborated to squash the movement). This fascinating piece of musical history is told through rare concert footage and visits to the old neighborhood with living legends Johnny Colon, Bobby Marin, and Joe Bataan.
Wednesday, August 5, 8:30pm
* Lincoln Center Out of Doors is hosting We Like It Like That! A Boogaloo Celebration with Joe Bataan, Ray Lugo and the Boogaloo Destroyers and special guests Richie Ray and Pete Rodriguez, ABAKUÁ Afro-Latin Dance Company, & DJ Turmix on Thursday, August 6, 7:00 pm at Damrosch Park. More information at lcoutofdoors.org
Waraluck Hiransrettawat Every & David Reeve, Thailand/UK, 2014, DCP, 81m
Thai with English subtitles
Shot over two years amid political turmoil, Waraluck Hiransrettawat Every and David Reeve’s documentary features interviews with nine musicians who perform in genres—and, sometimes, beats or sounds—that are largely unknown outside of Thailand. From an optician who plays his homemade bamboo sax to aging masters of the khaen, pin, or mor lam to indie rockers to a Bangkok DJ who blends them all together, the film offers a diverse and enlightening sampler of what Thai music truly is. With inventively shot performances, Y/Our Music is essential for any lover of world music.
Tuesday, August 4, 9:15pm
I Was There: The Music Docs of Julien Temple:
An early witness (and friend) to the first wave of English punk bands, Julien Temple’s films have always been intimately connected to music. The Film Society is proud to present a cross section of the director’s work about the seminal rockers and musical institutions he’s profiled over the years, much of which has never screened theatrically in the U.S. Illustrating the straightforward and intimate testimonies of his subjects through wryly chosen archival and performance footage, Temple’s collage-like approach to documentary manages to be rousing but never showy.
The Clash: New Year’s Day ’77
Julien Temple, UK, 1977, digital projection, 75m
Structured around the earliest existing, previously unseen footage of The Clash—shot by Temple—performing at London’s landmark Roxy club on January 1, 1977, this dynamic documentary imparts both the cynicism and hope for real change that the impending punk movement so fervently believed in. Recordings of the band just hanging out together are intercut with samples of the laughably glib BBC programming that ran on New Year’s Eve, Hogmanay, and New Year’s Day—it’s immediately apparent that nothing would be the same after punk’s annus mirabilis. Featuring Mick Jones’s Bruce Lee impersonation and a cameo by Johnny Rotten!
Never Mind the Baubles: Christmas with the Sex Pistols
Julien Temple, UK, 1977, digital projection, 60m
A highly digressive—and enjoyable—documentary about the Sex Pistols’ benefit for striking firemen and their families in Huddersfield on Christmas Day, 1977. At the time, the band had such a terrible reputation that they had been banned from playing any venue in the U.K., and with their subsequent, disastrous U.S. tour, they completely imploded; this concert was, in many ways, their final great achievement and perfectly emblematic of punk values. Temple’s film incorporates contemporary interviews with the band and audience members, a variety of found footage, and clips from the concert itself to discuss the event and its historical significance.
Saturday, August 1, 6:00pm (Q&A with Julien Temple)
Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come
Julien Temple, UK, 2011, HDCAM, 75m
An intimate and candid trip down memory lane with the iconic lead guitarist of The Kinks. Shot on the hills and beaches of Exmoor (which have bewitched the London-born Dave Davies since childhood) and interspersed with a wide range of archival footage, its subject narrates the struggles of growing up poor in postwar Britain, his even more tumultuous experiences in the limelight, and his sentimental but uncompromising approach to life.
Ray Davies: Imaginary Man
Julien Temple, UK, 2010, HDCAM, 80m
This documentary follows Ray Davies shortly after the release of his 2010 album, See My Friends, and is structured around one-on-one interviews with the former Kink. Less of a companion piece than an accompaniment to Temple’s film about Ray’s younger brother Dave, the film’s style reflects Ray’s acerbic wit and personality.
Saturday, August 1, 9:15pm (Introduction by Julien Temple)
The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson
Julien Temple, UK, 2015, DCP, 91m
Temple’s newest rockumentary follows the final months of former Dr. Feelgood and Ian Drury guitarist Wilko Johnson, a recent widower with inoperable pancreatic cancer. The film expounds on Johnson’s personal philosophy and newfound joie de vivre (cemented by his terminal diagnosis) through inventive images created for the film as well as from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates. This energetic, sui generis portrait of one atheist’s last stand also details Johnson’s weeklong collaboration with fellow veteran rocker Roger Daltrey and features archival concert footage.
Friday, July 31, 7:00pm (Q&A with Julien Temple)
The Filth and the Fury
Julien Temple, UK/USA, 2000, 35mm, 108m
Patched together from a variety of archival footage, candid interviews with the band (shot entirely in silhouette, both to preserve their anonymity and the ideal of their youthful snarling), and key moments of Laurence Olivier’s performance in Richard III, there’s no better document of the making and unmaking of the Sex Pistols. Holding no punches while talking about manager Malcolm McLaren, the film serves as corrective to The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle (which Temple also directed), and the former band members’ testimony provides fascinating social insights into the ’70s England that the punk movement grew out of.
Sunday, August 2, 9:30pm
Julien Temple, UK, 2006, 35mm, 138m
Mud, music, dancing, drugs, and free love form the crux of this holistic history of the U.K.’s greatest open-air music festival, the longest-running in the world. The film incorporates performance recordings, unbridled crowd reaction shots captured by concertgoers, and Temple’s own footage of its 2002-05 editions, cumulatively covering every festival between 1970 and 2005. Encompassing the best (and worst) aspects of the five-day fest, the documentary allows audiences to witness Glasto’s evolution, as well as the sea changes in society at large. With performances from the likes of Björk, David Bowie, James Brown, Nick Cave, and Morrissey.
Sunday, August 2, 5:00pm
Glastopia: Glastonbury After Hours
Julien Temple, UK, 2012, HDCAM, 75m
A companion piece to Temple’s earlier, comprehensive history of Glastonbury, this documentary focuses on the festival’s outlying fields, which are referred to as Shangri-La, Arcadia, the Unfair Ground, Strummerville, Block 9, and the Common. Far from the main stage area, these outer fringes preserve the festival’s radical, alternative roots.
Sunday, August 2, 7:45pm
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Julien Temple, Ireland/UK, 2007, 35mm, 124m
A deeply personal look at the self-described “punk rock warlord,” Temple’s film portrays the complexities, contradictions, and rebellious energy that defined his longtime friend. Pieced together with clips from home movies, television, newsreels, and the feature films that Strummer appeared in (as well as excerpts of his BBC World Service radio show), this documentary follows his well-to-do upbringing, time as an art student, the height of his fame, and his struggle to redefine himself after The Clash. With interviews from family members, friends, and artists of all stripes (from Bono to Johnny Depp to John Cusack) who drew inspiration from Strummer’s personality and music, there is no better tribute to his legacy.
Saturday, August 1, 3:30pm
The Liberty of Norton Folgate
Julien Temple, UK, 2009, digital projection, 64m
A concert film shot during a performance at London’s Hackney Empire, Temple’s inventive approach to Madness’ concept album of the same name connects the iconic ska band with their working-class British roots and a populist tradition of entertainment. The film weaves comical introductions to songs and a tour of various historically seedy London neighborhoods led by Madness’ Suggs and Carl into footage from the concert, whose audience is peppered with burlesque “types” who sometimes steal the show.
Monday, August 3, 9:15pm
Oil City Confidential
Julien Temple, UK, 2009, digital projection, 104m
A lithe and lucid look at Dr. Feelgood, a “pub-rock” band that broke up shortly before hitting the big time, which serves as a “prequel” to Temple’s other films about The Clash and the Sex Pistols. Through a series of interviews, it becomes clear how four boys from Canvey Island paved the way for punk with their prescient sound, sardonic attitude, and outlandish stage shows. As much a study of the band as of the place that shaped them, this unforgettable documentary will energize even the most jaded sprog.
Friday, July 31, 9:30pm (Introduction by Julien Temple)
Sound + Vision Live:
An Evening with Talibam!
Talibam!—the duo of keyboardist Matt Mottel and drummer Kevin Shea—seem to have been around New York forever. Though they began as an adventurous and all-inclusive improvisational free-noise ensemble, Talibam! has wormed its way through pop-rap, Billy Joel tributes, corrosive remixes of flavor-of-the-month albums, and psycho-magical public demonstrations. They’re hilarious, three steps ahead of you, and charmingly hardworking, equally skilled at making music and mischief.
It is difficult to guess what exactly the ever-slippery Talibam! might have to offer when they perform at the Film Society. Their latest work sounds like early Detroit techno. Matt Mottel might play a keytar. They might stay close to their roots and play an improvised noise-jazz set. They might do some of their rap songs. There might be costumes. But what is certain is that there will be a live performance, and the duo will also present video selections from its long and distinguished career..
Tuesday, August 4, 8:00pm
Foxes in Fiction
The sleepy brainchild of Warren Hildebrand, Foxes in Fiction has all the bleary aura of bedroom shoegaze but with more heart and more groove. On recordings, his voice is audible—soft, lovely, and distinguishable—and the rhythms, often marked by an extra-jangly tambourine, are easy to tap one’s toes to. Hildebrand’s guitar seems to unfurl in the wind and his songs are patient and sometimes kissed by a violin melody.
In addition to writing and performing music, Hildebrand manages Orchid Tapes, a record label dedicated to releasing the work of “family and friends since 2010.” It is what you might call a boutique label, specializing in somewhat limited runs of beautiful objects by such beloved acts as Alex G, Elvis Depressedly, and Ricky Eat Acid.
Deftly combining analog photography, found photos, old television sets, Tumblr, slow-motion iPhone video, scent diffusers, and the hum of laptops in the night air, Hildebrand and Orchid Tapes generally maintain a striking visual presence. Foxes in Fiction often performs with live visuals to accompany their songs, and Hildebrand will be showcasing new songs and video work in our Amphitheater.
Wednesday, August 5, 8:00pm
Preston Spurlock & Friends
Preston Spurlock’s gooey, squiggly blobs, his Katamari Damacy–esque collages, and his inflated-to-the-point-of-bursting lettering have become the predominant flavor in the visual stew of today’s DIY concert flyers. His frantic hand colorfully announces the bills of shows at various venues nearly every night of the week. Spurlock can also often be found providing live visuals for said concerts, projecting twisted, reversed, discolored, or otherwise violently distorted commercial images of dads at barbecues, used cars, dog food, jellied salads, and other VHS ephemera overtop performers. His visual world is cluttered, slimy, funny, ruthlessly indiscriminate in its appropriation, and totally vital to live music in New York.
Unsurprisingly, Spurlock also creates music. His songs—collected on the album Oh My Lard—take a page or two from the garage psychedelia of R. Stevie Moore, the absurdity of Elephant 6 groups, and the cleverness of DEVO. More recently, Spurlock released a collection of collage mash-ups that sonically approximate his visual style, with cassette-tape loops stumbling and crossfading over each other in chaotic, hypnotic style.
The Film Society has invited the artist to present an evening of his own varied work as well as a number of performances from other musicians of Spurlock’s choosing. Surprises are likely in store, and this event will probably have a really cool-looking flyer.
Monday, August 3, 8:00pm
Picture This: Photos by GODLIS
Godlis presents an exhibition of “greatest hits” from his photography archive, including images of the early days of punk rock at CBGB and downtown NYC in the ’70s and ’80s.