Arthur Russell Documentary - is this needed?

MurdockMurdock 542 Posts
edited July 2008 in Strut Central
I'm down with Sleeping Bag Records and all. But does Arthur Russell need a documentary?

  Comments


  • onetetonetet 1,750 Posts
    why not?

  • deejdeej 5,124 Posts
    he does but i heard they way downplay the disco aspect of his work in this

  • I'm down with Sleeping Bag Records and all. But does Arthur Russell need a documentary?

    Yes, please!

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,825 Posts
    I'm down with Sleeping Bag Records and all. But does Arthur Russell need a documentary?


    1 star

  • white_teawhite_tea 3,262 Posts
    My ignorant admission of the day: I still sometimes confuse Arthur Baker with Arthur Russell.

  • Birdman9Birdman9 5,417 Posts
    he does but i heard they way downplay the disco aspect of his work in this

    Is he really that relevant ouside of his contributions to dance music? I am asking honestly and not ironically or sarcastically.

  • you can make a documentary about any subject interesting and worthwhile. unfortunately, this is an interesting and worthwhile subject fucked up by lots of long tracking shots of cornfields. there is definitely a lot more time given to the world of echo-isms than the disco side. i actually don't even think they mention 'is it all over my face' anywhere in the film, which is probably the most roundly-revered project he ever worked on. you can tell the filmmaker does not know much about arthur, music in general or film, really. still, the archival footage is nice. basically, i got nothing out of watching it that i couldn't have gotten out of listening to the records. which is a failure as far as documentary filmmaking goes.

  • onetetonetet 1,750 Posts
    you can make a documentary about any subject interesting and worthwhile. unfortunately, this is an interesting and worthwhile subject fucked up by lots of long tracking shots of cornfields. there is definitely a lot more time given to the world of echo-isms than the disco side. i actually don't even think they mention 'is it all over my face' anywhere in the film, which is probably the most roundly-revered project he ever worked on. you can tell the filmmaker does not know much about arthur, music in general or film, really. still, the archival footage is nice. basically, i got nothing out of watching it that i couldn't have gotten out of listening to the records. which is a failure as far as documentary filmmaking goes.

    that sucks as it makes it that much less likely that someone else will come in and make a quality doc on AR -- how many artists get multiple documentaries? that's what I thought re: the Public Enemy Welcome to the Terrordome doc circulating now, and also re: the Minutemen doc from a few years back: "oh well, now it'll be at least another 5-10 years before someone tells the story right."

  • asstroasstro 1,749 Posts
    I haven't seen this or the PE doc, but what problems did you have with "We Jam Econo"? I thought it was pretty damn great.

  • yeah i mean, it's not hard to watch or anything (though there are some really cringeworthy film-school montage moments that i had to look away from - close-up shots of aquariums and shit), but it just feels like there is this potentially great story wasted, like you say. and the interviews are, for the most part, boring as hell. why the fuck is jens lekman in this film? it's sad because not only does it let down fans of the music, it really doesn't introduce anything to latch onto for the casual viewer, either. it's a decent enough attempt, but you can't help but feel like you wasted your time after watching it.

  • MurdockMurdock 542 Posts
    you can make a documentary about any subject interesting and worthwhile. unfortunately, this is an interesting and worthwhile subject fucked up by lots of long tracking shots of cornfields. there is definitely a lot more time given to the world of echo-isms than the disco side. i actually don't even think they mention 'is it all over my face' anywhere in the film, which is probably the most roundly-revered project he ever worked on. you can tell the filmmaker does not know much about arthur, music in general or film, really. still, the archival footage is nice. basically, i got nothing out of watching it that i couldn't have gotten out of listening to the records. which is a failure as far as documentary filmmaking goes.
    If the movie is not about disco, what is it about?

  • onetetonetet 1,750 Posts
    I haven't seen this or the PE doc, but what problems did you have with "We Jam Econo"? I thought it was pretty damn great.

    i thought they should have pushed mike watt to get better interviews -- the rambling, unfocused, distracted remembrances they got from him were pretty lackluster IMO.


  • If the movie is not about disco, what is it about?

    arthur russell actually made a few recordings that weren't released on sleeping bag

  • asstroasstro 1,749 Posts
    I haven't seen this or the PE doc, but what problems did you have with "We Jam Econo"? I thought it was pretty damn great.

    i thought they should have pushed mike watt to get better interviews -- the rambling, unfocused, distracted remembrances they got from him were pretty lackluster IMO.

    If you ever meet him you'll find that he is often a pretty rambling unfocused distracted guy IRL. His personality really comes thru in those interviews IMO.

  • MurdockMurdock 542 Posts

    If the movie is not about disco, what is it about?

    arthur russell actually made a few recordings that weren't released on sleeping bag
    Anything good? That wasn't disco I mean.

  • onetetonetet 1,750 Posts
    I haven't seen this or the PE doc, but what problems did you have with "We Jam Econo"? I thought it was pretty damn great.

    i thought they should have pushed mike watt to get better interviews -- the rambling, unfocused, distracted remembrances they got from him were pretty lackluster IMO.

    If you ever meet him you'll find that he is often a pretty rambling unfocused distracted guy IRL. His personality really comes thru in those interviews IMO.

    i can see that but it still didn't make for compelling viewing. and while they clearly had a dearth of archival footage to work with (a few videotaped live performances and a few period videotaped interviews), they could've assembled more visuals of other sorts -- better use of photos, record covers, etc.

    in general there was a tendancy with both the old footage and the new interviews to just let what they had run instead of editing in an interesting way.

    it's better than not seeing a minutemen doc in that it was cool to see the live footage, but it was only marginally better to me than just watching dusty tapes of those concerts/interviews.
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