6.5

All Tomorrow's Parties

Movies Reviews All Tomorrow's Parties
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All Tomorrow's Parties

Director: Jonathan Caouette
Release Date: October

Absorbing fly-on-the-stage collage of legendary rock fest captured with Super 8 footage, cell-phone images and handheld cameras

Now 40 years after Woodstock and the iconic concert film that proved that the zeitgeist of an event could be best captured by simply rolling tape and allowing the images to tell its story,

experimental music label Warp offers us All Tomorrow’s Parties, an 82-minute examination of the famously independent British festival where one musician or band curates a weekend of music at an out-of-season seaside camp.

Favoring a similar multi-panel mix of overheard conversations, impromptu backstage performances and swarming crowds of attendees, the emphasis is on the communal ethos of the event more than individual artists or their music, with much of the film spent roaming the festival grounds and the apartments that house the musicians.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some striking moments—from Grinderman’s furious rendition of “No Pussy Blues” to an acoustic sunrise performance by Grizzly Bear on the beach—but with over 200 filmmakers contributing five years of footage to the film’s visual collage, it all unfolds at a surreally scattered yet dreamily insular pace. You might not hear too many songs from start to finish, but if you want to feel like you spent a bleary-eyed weekend on the British coast, this is the next best thing to actually being there.

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