After the results of the selection for the short film competition, which is held incessantly since 1961, it is now time for the youngest – the music competition, held for the third time. Traditionally, DocFilmMusic will be held also in Warsaw, competing films will be shown in Kino Kultura.
Two previous editions have already proved that music documentary is as diverse and multidimensional a genre as diverse and multidimensional can be the music from different parts of the world and as complicated as the fates of the protagonists can be. Music films in this edition are a combination of classical and popular music, intimate and collective portraits, politics and rebellion.
In the phenomenal documentary film "Erbarme dich – Matthäus Passion Stories" , the Dutch director Ramón Gielingo makes "St Matthew’s Passion" by Bach the main protagonist and tells about the power of this work of art to influence people from various social classes. Various artistic interpretations mix with extremely moving stories about crucial role which this composition played in the lives of many people.
Another film telling about the crucial role of singing is also "Alentejo Alentejo" , a documentary in which the director, Sergio Tréfaut, looks at (or rather, listens to) the inhabitants of Portugal province, famous for polyphonic unaccompaniedsinging. The songs, which in the past were performed mostly by miners and peasants, remain an important part of the contemporary generation’s identity.
"I’ve never known a girl like you before” sang in the 1980s Edwyn Collins, a Scottish musician, and the whole world sang with him. However, career and spectacular success of the song are not the main subjects of the documentary film "The Possibilities are Endless" by Edward Lovelace and James Hall. 10 years after recording the song, Collins suffered a stroke, after which he is partially paralysed, has problems with speech and memory. However, this does not prevent him from implementing his musical plans, by which he is helped by his wife Grace.
The 1990s. indisputably belonged to the music group Nirvana, which took the music industry by storm. It may seem that everything has been already said and written about Kurt Cobain, but in the documentary film "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" the director Brett Morgen reaches much deeper, under all labels which clung to the charismatic leader over the years. Using primarily home archival materials belonging to the musician’s widow, Courtney Love, as the base, the film concentrates on the private life of the vocalist.
The title of the film "Mr Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" (dir. Alex Gibney) does not leave any doubts what kind of a musician we dealt with. Inexhaustible energy on stage of the godfather of rhythm and blues fascinates until today. The film uses hitherto unknown archival materials from the early phase of Brown’s career, and people speaking about the musician include, among others, Mick Jagger, who is also the film’s producer.
How fascinating a musical meeting of people from different corners of the world can be, is shown in a cosy picture "Rehearsals" (dir. Ana Maria Vijdea), in which seven musicians spend a couple of days together, interpreting the music of Maria Tănase, Romanian cultural icon.
There are also some fascinating journeys in store for us. Together with the orchestra Royal Concertgebouw from Amsterdam, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013, we will travel "Around the World in 50 Concerts" (dir. Heddy Honigmann). The film-makers accompany the musicians during their tour through six continents and look behind the scenes of concert halls, participate in rehearsals, listen to private confessions of the artists.
We will visit Cambodia from a lesser known musical side thanks to the film "Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodian Lost Rock n’roll" by John Pirozzi. We will travel in time to the period of song and dance, when Cambodia tried to remain politically neutral, until the dictatorship of Pol Pot came and pre-revolution artists turned into the enemies of system, and many of them perished in unexplained circumstances.
We will also feel like on a real concert thanks to the three-dimensional film "Wacken 3D – The Movie" by Norbert Heitker, which will transport the viewers to the very middle of one of the largest metal music festivals in the world. On the stage, there are such aces of metal music as Anthrax, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Motorhead or Rammstein.
Apart from the DocFilmMusic competition, music documentary films will also be included in the non-competing section "Sounds of Music," presented by Piotr Metz in the open air cinema Kino Pod Wawelem. This year, we bet on music film classics, great films by great masters. We will see, among others, "Hair" by Milos Forman, "Buena Vista Social Club" by Wim Wenders, "The Doors" by Olivier Stone.
The list of films qualified for the feature-length music documentary competition DocFilmMusic:
Alentejo, Alentejo, dir. Sergio Tréfaut, Portugal 2014, 96’
Erbarme Dich – Matthäus Passion Stories, dir. Ramón Gieling, the Netherlands 2015, 99’
Mr Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, dir. Alex Gibney, USA 2014, 120’
The Possibilities are Endless, dir. Edward Lovelace, James Hall, Great Britain 2014, 83’
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, dir. Brett Morgen, USA 2015, 132’
No Land’s Song, dir. Ayat Najafi, Germany, France 2014, 91’
Rehearsals, dir. Ana Maria Vijdea, Portugal 2015, 59’
Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodian Lost Rock n’roll, dir. John Pirozzi, USA 2014, 107’
Wacken 3D – The Movie, dir. Norbert Heitker, Germany 2014, 95’
Around the World in 50 Concerts, dir. Heddy Honigmann, the Netherlands,2014, 94’