Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kill Your Idols (2006)

Engrossing if formally clumsy documentary on the brief No-Wave scene in New York City during the late '70s and its aftereffects exemplifies everything that is wrong with low-budget documentaries. It's a crude, slapped together thing with filmmaking ranging from barely functional to downright incompetent. (The editing, which I guess is supposed to mirror the herky-jerky rhythms of much of the profiled music, is irritating.) If the subject matter weren't so fascinating, this might be unbearable. Hearing the music which the film is about, though, puts its amateurishness into context -- if the film is primitive, it's only as a reflection of the subject. S.A. Crary's goal is to provide an overview of what once was and how it differs with what is today; the lack of depth is an issue, but there's plenty of information here even for those who know something about the genre (as I do). Great musical performances, too (why the hell haven't I heard DNA before?). The modern-day interviews prove that all the wrong lessons were learned by those who were influenced by the movement, and the ones who were the influencers know it; Lydia Lunch, in particular, gets some vicious shots in against the modern NYC scene. Watching this, it's clear why both the original No Wave scene and the New-York hipster scene of a couple years back died out, though only the former was meant to. No Cop Shoot Cop though, what a gyp. Also: I will pay good money to anyone who can assure me that I'll never have to hear Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs interviewed ever again.

Grade: B-


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