The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'anton corbijn'

2010/11/27

The Graun has a piece on post-punk photographer turned film director Anton Corbijn, whose second film, The American (a film entirely unrelated to post-punk, rock music or that entire stream of monochromatic cool Corbijn is associated with) is coming out soon:

I didn't really know how to make a film when I made Control. I had to create my own language, just as I did when I started taking photographs. I never studied either one." But surely clueless film directors don't win prizes at Cannes? "True, but film-making is extreme for me. I can't use lights. I need others to help me to put shots together. Directing film is the hardest thing I have ever done." Even though you directed more than 100 rock videos? "I know just enough not to look stupid. Mostly that means I know who to ask."
He became a performer, emulating the great photographic artist Cindy Sherman. He got made up, put himself on the other side of the camera and shot himself in bleak Dutch settings disguised as a series of dead musicians – John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Elvis, Frank Zappa. The resulting book was a revealing document about his obsessions. "I guess I always wanted to be 'a somebody', and I only admitted this to myself in my 40s," he said. One of the happiest moments in his professional life, he says, was when Depeche Mode's drummer couldn't make it to the Top of the Pops studio so Corbijn (an amateur drummer) stepped in and was paid by the BBC for his performance.

anton corbijn culture film photography 0

2007/10/15

Tonight I saw Control, Anton Corbijn's Ian Curtis biopic.

It was quite well done, I thought. As you'd expect from Corbijn, it had its starkly atmospheric shots (entirely in black and white), echoing some of the famous photos he took of Joy Division. The aesthetic of the film was quite sparse, with long shots of rooms and council estates, much said with no words but only expressions, and an equally sparse soundtrack, with the most sparing use of incidental music. (Parts of it had a German expressionist quality; it could have almost been a Fritz Lang film from the 1930s.)

The danger with this film was that it could have easily been just another exercise in style over substance, in capturing the legend of a mythical band in a time-capsule of stylised cool. However, thankfully, it wasn't; it seemed reasonably faithful (albeit from Deborah Curtis' point of view, leavened with an imagined view from Ian's perspective). Watching it, I got the feeling of Ian's predicament, the trap he was drawing into, the terrible forces tearing him (and those around him) apart. He wasn't some darkly romantic, tortured hero, just a lad from Macclesfield ill-equipped for what fate threw at him. And the film really carried across how young and unprepared he was.

The music was pretty good too; the actors playing Joy Division played all the music on stage, and did a bang-up job of it, pulling off intense performances. (I can imagine that the actual gigs would have been just like that.)

Having said that, the Killers' cover of Shadowplay in the closing credits was entirely unnecessary. Who signed off on that one?

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2007/8/31

The Graun has a piece on Control, Anton Corbijn's soon-to-be-released film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, along with interviews with the surviving members of the band:

"I couldn't believe how well it goes with the film," [Peter Hook] says. "It captures the Manchester of the 1970s so well. Control doesn't feel like the end of the story; the documentary closes things off perfectly. But Anton's film is more chilling. Towards the end, it felt like someone had ripped out my heart and was stamping on it. To be honest, when Atmosphere came on, I thought I was going to throw up."
"This sounds awful but it was only after Ian died that we sat down and listened to the lyrics," says Morris. "You'd find yourself thinking, 'Oh my God, I missed this one.' Because I'd look at Ian's lyrics and think how clever he was putting himself in the position of someone else. I never believed he was writing about himself. Looking back, how could I have been so bleedin' stupid? Of course he was writing about himself. But I didn't go in and grab him and ask, 'What's up?' I have to live with that. Watching the film, there were moments when I wished I could have stepped into the film. Unfortunately, you can't."
All three members agree, more or less, on Joy Division/New Order's position in the scheme of things. "When I listen to Nirvana, I hear [New Order's] Ceremony bass line on quite a few of those songs. So I'd have to say, yes, we are the missing link between the Beatles and Nirvana," says Hook.
The article concludes to say that "enhanced versions" of Joy Division's albums are being released soon. I hope that "enhanced" doesn't mean "remastered with lots of compression for extra loudness".

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2007/5/18

Control, Anton Corbijn's biographical drama about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, has just premièred at Cannes, and received critical acclaim.

The film is shot in black and white, and has a characteristically 1980s Corbijn look; the production stills look promisingly stark. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of this one.

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2006/8/9

More YouTube videos: this time Stump's "Buffalo", which you may remember from the C86 compilation (it was the most dadaistic track on that one). The video, in this case, is the visual equivalent of the song. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, more Swedish indiepop: Jens Lekman's "You Are The Light"; pretty polished, involving Jens riding through a tunnel in a van surrounded by riot police, with brass sections passing in open-topped cars at key sections of the song.

And here's one for the goths: Propaganda's "Dr. Mabuse", with Anton Corbijn doing his best Fritz Lang homage.

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2006/7/13

Filming has commenced on Control, Anton Corbijn's film about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis:

Control deals with Curtis' romantic conflicts with his wife, Deborah, and his mistress, Annik Honore, his increasingly debilitating epileptic seizures, and his performances with Joy Division. Filming will take place in the English towns of Nottingham and Macclesfield (where Curtis lived and is now buried). The film will be released in the UK by Momentum Pictures sometime in 2007.
Sam Riley, who played Mark E. Smith in 24 Hour Party People, stars as Curtis, Academy Award-nominated actress Samantha Morton plays Deborah Curtis, Alexandra Maria Lara is Honore, James Anthony Pearson is Joy Division/New Order guitarist Bernard Sumner, Joe Anderson is bassist Peter Hook, Harry Treadaway is drummer Stephen Morris, Toby Kebbell is Factory Records partner and Joy Division manager Rob Gretton, and Craig Parkinson is Wilson.
Not a bad cast, though Sam Riley will have a hard act to follow in the chap who played Curtis in 24 Hour Party People.

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2005/1/7

The biography of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Touching From A Distance, is being made into a film, with Anton Corbijn (the Dutch photographer who directed videos for Depeche Mode, and (I think) made the video of Atmosphere as well) directing and Tony Wilson and Curtis' widow (and author of the biography) Deborah as executive producers.

It's good to hear that it has beaten this highly-marketable piece of shite to the punch.

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