Things that aren't there anymore


Day three of the Toronto International Film Festival, and on the heels of Control comes Joy Division, a documentary about the groundbreaking (and heartbreakingly short-lived) post-punk band. While the narrative Control busied itself more with Ian Curtis' complicated personal life, Joy Division taks a closer look at the band's music, rise to fame, and also the roots of their dark, moody sound -- specifically, the city of Manchester in the late 1970s, where as one interviewee points out, "Nothing looked pretty." Just about everyone still living who had anything to do with the band chimes in on the doc, which benefits from director Grant Gee's ability to contextualize Joy Division's place in landscapes physical, sonic, and artistic. (He also made the 1998 Radiohead doc, Meeting People is Easy.) There's a great attention to detail -- the film visits places that are crucial to Joy Division lore, like the Factory, now shut down and living on only in the collective rock n' roll memory. Some great Joy Division peformance footage too -- seeing the doc so soon after seeing Control made me truly appreciate actor Sam Riley's portrayal of Curtis. The resemblance is pretty spooky.
Fun fact: the artist who designed this iconic album sleeve did so without ever having heard a note of Joy Division music.

After Joy Division, I got to interview Mother of Tears director Dario Argento and his daughter, actor-director Asia Argento, who stars in his latest film. If either of these folks need additional introduction, I suggest you get choppin' on that for your own edumacation. Seriously. I'll transcribe that chat and have it up at some soon point. Here's something I'm sure will surprise you not: Dario Argento told me he's a huge David Cronenberg fan.

Today, I also checked out The Wild Horse Redemption, about a prison in Colorado that runs a program allowing inmates to train wild Mustangs. Many metaphoric parallels are made between the men and the horses, all of them obvious. But if you can argue with the uplifting power of slow-mo shots of wild horses galloping through Rocky Mountain landscapes, well, I don't know how to help you. Rehab your cynicism and get back to me.

Because I'm a gorehound, I had to check out Frontier(s), a French flick that offers some memorably gross mutilations, and spirals from a politically potent story about a group of slum-dwelling teenagers who flee Paris during the recent real-life riots (actual news footage is used here). While I enjoyed the film, it's definitely yet another one of those backwoods-crazies, don't-get-off-the-highway-you-city-slicker types of jobbies.

How do you say Texas Chainsaw Massacre in French?

Also from this author

  • "All our families are f-ed up:" Director David Dobkin on his Duvall vs. Downey drama 'The Judge'

  • Go for Goth

    'The Guest' filmmakers talk Carpenter, moody music, and finding the humor in horror

  • You better recognize

    Under-the-radar artists (and a misunderstood legend) get their due in Mill Valley Film Fest doc