Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA
Stephen Nomura Schible (U.S.A., Japan, 2017)
A mosaic of the late composer’s oeuvre, philosophies, and practices. Ryuichi Sakamoto welcomes Japan-born Schible into his home and his heart, as he embarks on making what would be his second to last album, async, after recovering from stage three throat cancer. The camera trails the intrepid artist as he forages the wilderness with his recording equipment, capturing the found sounds that have captured him. It patiently zooms into Sakamoto’s ear, while the soundscape plays directly from his microphone, so that we hear with him. We immerse in his process and experience the world through his senses.
Danny Cohen (Australia, 2021)
The most recent addition to TURN IT UP’s roster, Anonymous Club paints less of a portrait of Courtney Barnett’s music as it does of her mental health. In 2018, filmmaker, friend, and collaborator Danny Cohen asked Barnett to keep an audio diary: short voice memos recorded on analog Dictaphone addressed to him, so that she was alone yet in conversation. Not one to shy away from difficult subjects in her music, her private thoughts seem saturated by depression, detachment, and doubt. Cohen layers Barnett’s musings atop gorgeous 16mm shots of her stopping points along a three-year world tour – interiors filled with light from windows, like her inner life pierced by the external world. He’s quite right to describe this film as “the antithesis of a rock biography,” and it shouldn’t be missed.
One More Time With Feeling
Andrew Dominik (U.K., France, 2016)
A shock of black and white cinematography. A marvel of kaleidoscopic camera tricks. But at bottom: bare emotion. In 2015 Nick Cave lost one of his twin sons, Arthur, aged 15, when he fell from a cliff near their home. Though Cave began his 16th album, Skeleton Tree, before the tragedy, he recorded it in its wake. For mysterious reasons, he welcomed a camera crew into the studio, where he unspools his pain through music. One More Time With Feeling features full songs, some poems and the Bad Seeds’ production process. But it also carves out the space and time for Cave to just talk. And he generously shares his insights, sharpened by the piercing clarity that accompanies grief.
The Accordion’s Journey / El Viaje Del Acordeón
Andrew Tucker, Ray Sagbini (Colombia, 2013)
The Accordion’s Journey opens with a legend: long ago a ship full of accordions bound for Buenos Aires inadvertently washed up on Colombia’s shores. This transatlantic accident birthed “Vallenato” music and set an unexpected course for the island nation’s folkloric traditions. Follow a trio of musicians and self-proclaimed soulmates through a camcorder’s viewport as they compete in a string of music festivals and travel to Trossingen, Germany, the birthplace of their favourite accordion, to perform with a legendary accordion orchestra. A humble film full of grace.
Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross (U.S.A., 2016)
A world you didn’t know you didn’t know: Colour Guard. Luckily David Byrne stumbled upon the sport — a combination of synchronised dance, rifle tossing, saber twirling, and flag spinning, often performed during half-time shows — and decided it deserved a wider audience. He asked his favourite musicians, including St. Vincent, Devonte Hynes, and Nelly Furtado, to write original songs for the top high school Colour Guard teams to take to nationals. The culmination of these creative unions were performed at the Barclay Centre in 2015. The Ross Brothers make Contemporary Color so much more than a concert film. They weave footage from backstage, rehearsals, and competitions into the live show with the same synchronization of a Colour Guard athlete.