From Bruce to Shakira-The rise of concert films and music documentaries

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Metallica, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Roger Waters – all have turned to concert movies this year to reach out to fans
Meanwhile, documentary producers play to the nostalgia of older fans, and to younger music lovers who missed seeing stars in their prime

This year has been a remarkable one for lovers of music, be it classical, contemporary, rock or pop. Top of the bill among music films is Pavarotti, Ron Howard’s non-fiction film about the most famous opera singer of them all. The film covers his early years, his rise to global fame, performing as part of The Three Tenors on the eve of the 1990 World Cup, and his personal traumas.(scmp.com – to read the full article click here)

Howard is no stranger to music documentaries. In 2013, he shot Made in America, which dealt with the eclectic Philadelphia musical festival of that name organised by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Examining “what it means to the city, what it signifies in America and in music”, it mixed together performance and backstage antics with interviews (Skrillex, the Hives and Janelle Monae).

He soon followed it with The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years , a film dealing with the Fab Four’s years on the road in the 1960s.

Howard isn’t the only A-list director to tackle the music doc as a fruitful sideline. Spike Lee made Bad 25 and Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall. The late Jonathan Demme [3] shot documentaries on Kenny Chesney, Neil Young [4], Robyn Hitchcock and Talking Heads.

And, most famously, Martin Scorsese made exhaustive films on George Harrison and Bob Dylan, including this year’s Netflix-streamed account of the latter’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
It’s easy to see the appeal: with film and music such natural bedfellows, this medium offers the chance to train a very different sort of spotlight on musicians. In this year’s David Crosby: Remember My Name, the founding member of The Byrds is seen in what he calls “an honest portrayal” – a warts-and-all look at his tumultuous life seen through the prism of his 2017 tour and a series of interviews conducted with Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe.

Most excitingly, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is sifting through 55 hours of in-studio footage of The Beatles shot in 1969 when the band was recording its final album, Let It Be. Jackson has already called it “the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience” – a rare chance to see the group at work (and perfect for the legions of fans deprived of seeing the 1970 film Let It Be, which has long been out of circulation).

While Western Stars will receive a wide release, producers of some concert films are giving them a limited release to encourage fans to flock to cinemas in unison.

Heavy-metal messiahs Metallica have just released S&M², the film of their recent gigs with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (a 20th anniversary reunion, following their 1999 collaboration). Its cinematic run? Just two nights.
Likewise electropop giants Depeche Mode will release for “one night only” on November 6 Spirits in the Forest, a film of the final concert of their last tour, in Berlin, directed by the band’s long-term visual collaborator Anton Corbijn, that tells the story of six fans who attended it. In the same month, pop lovers can also see Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour, a film shot on the Colombian songstress’ last tour, which will be shown in 2,000 cinemas in 60 countries.

 

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