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Let There Be Rock, a program of more than 45 documentaries, concert movies and feature films capturing the rebellious spirit of rock music will be presented at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art Cinémathèque throughout May, covering over 50 years of music in cinema. Andrew L. Urban reports.

“Rock and film intersect really well,” says Rosie Hayes, Associate Curator at the Australian Cinémathèque, who curated the program. “This is a celebration of rock, which was born when filmmakers were experimenting and cameras were becoming more portable. There is such a commonality of sensibilities.” Including her own; a rock fan since her childhood, Hayes says she had some tough decisions to make. “What to leave out?!”

"to capture key moments in rock"

The objective was to capture key moments in rock, “not to try and chronicle rock n’roll – that’s just too huge.” 

The program, in development for 12 months, embraces films from Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock 1957 and The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night 1964 to Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White in It Might Get Loud 2009 and Animal Collective’s visual album ODDSAC 2009. 

“In addition to the films themselves,” says Queensland Art Gallery Director Tony Ellwood, “the Friday night screenings will be complemented by local musicians responding to the music represented on screen with very special short live performances, included as part of the ticket price.

“Ben Salter (The Gin Club), Matt Somers (I Heart Hiroshima), Seja Vogel, Tim Steward and Kate Jacobsen (Texas Tea) will provide their own unique takes on Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes and The Doors.
‘In a special final event on June 3, Quan Yeomans (Regurgitator) will take on the music of Prince prior to a screening of Purple Rain 1984.”

"showcasing their magnetic stage presence and musical talents"

Ellwood says the film program will feature intimate portraits of bands and musicians, “showcasing their magnetic stage presence and musical talents, as well as the fans, collaborators and locations that surround them. 

“Wild experiments with rock operas and musicals illustrate the blending of rock music and cinema into a unique film genre. Concert films and live recordings capture bands in full flight and the transformation of stage performances into visceral experiences. Iconic music events caught on film also chronicle rare pieces of music history and their ensuing influence on new generations of music fans.

“Documentaries on some of the central events in rock mythology – Wattstax 1970, Woodstock 1973 and the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Free Concert depicted in Gimme Shelter 1970 – are featured alongside recent exposés of the pressures of the music industry, such as Metallica: Some Kind of Monster 2004.

“The role of women in rock is showcased with Patti Smith: Dream of Life 2008, chronicling the artist’s incarnations as poet, painter, writer and musician and Radical Act 1995, a documentary on the feminist punk movement in the United States. 

"Modern rock of all persuasions"

‘Modern rock of all persuasions is included with films on the music of The White Stripes, Animal Collective and Sigur Ros.”

Ellwood says Australian artists would be represented by films on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dirty Three and Brisbane’s own SixFtHick, who will take part in a Q&A session following a screening of SixFtHick: Notes from the Underground 2010 on Saturday May 21 at 2pm.

A free 20 minute preview of the forthcoming major documentary on AC/DC fandom, Beyond the Thunder is scheduled for Sunday June 5 at 1pm.

Classic musicals Jesus Christ Superstar 1973, The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975 and Hair 1979, as well as seminal rock-mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap 1984 complete the program.

Published March 31, 2011

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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan 2005 / Director: Martin Scorsese
Image courtesy: Roadshow Entertainment

Australian Cinémathèque 
Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
April 29 to June 5, 2011

Adults $9 / 5-film pass $36
Concession: $7 / 5-film pass $28
Members $6 / 5-film pass $24

For more information please visit www.qag.qld.gov.au/cinematheque
Tickets available from www.qtix.com.au or at the box office prior to screenings (subject to availability).

When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors 2009 / Director: Tom Dicillo / Image courtesy: Madman Entertainment

Control 2007/ Director: Anton Corbijn
Image courtesy: Icon Films

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