Friday, July 23, 2010

Live Tape (2009)

One of the highlights of the of the NYAFF was Tetsuaki Matsue‘s Live Tape. Even allowing for the fact that I met Kenta Maeno, the star of the film before the screening and he signed my CDs and took a picture with me, this was just an absolute joy of a film. As I said in an earlier post the film is one of the best of the festival, best of the year and one the of the best concert films ever made.

Simply put I love this film.

The whole set up is simple The camera leaves a temple on New Years Day and picks up Kenta who is playing outside it. Then in one continuous take the film follows him as he walks through the city singing. Along the way he meets members of his band, the David Bowies, and they all end up at a band shell at sunset.

Conceived and filmed in less than a month the film was put together for about twenty bucks, the cost of the digital tape. New Years Day was chosen because it was hoped the crowds would be small (they were bigger than expected).

The film was planned via talks between Kenta and the crew and they walked the course three times to get a handle on the timing. Then they shot it.

Its magical.

You fall into it. It’s a film that you forget is a film and becomes a living breathing experience (the director said that he was hoping that the film was going to be an experience for the audience. What is it like to walk with Kenta). The film is alive and at the screening I attended the audience was applauding after each song as if it was a concert.

Its not all music. At some point the director begins kibitzing which then turns into questions and answers which then brings up a discussion of the death of Kenta’s dad right before he takes the stage in sings Weather Report about his dad. Somewhere in there the film moved from just being Great into the realm of being transcendent and glorious and it takes its place as one of the greatest concert films.

Never mind if you like the music going in or not, you will love it by the end. Don’t take my word for it take the word of my friend Dave who said "a few weeks ago, I would've agreed I'd soon be watching some excellent movies (at the film festival). No doubt, there'd be bloody murder, conspiracy, deception, and even some surreal romantic encounters. Had I been told one of those movies would be a documentary focus on an independent folk rock musician walking around and performing on the streets of Tokyo, I would've been very doubtful. or that the musician at the focus of said documentary would perform a few songs afterwards, I would've had an even harder time believing. but if I've learned anything from NYAFF's screening of LIVE TAPE on Wednesday, it's the value of letting go of expectations and sitting back to embrace whatever may come." (The full post can be found here)

I’m now a fan of both the film and of Kenta.

See this film. Currently on the festival circuit this will hopefully hit DVD soon so I can experience it again making this the rare magical experience you can watch again and again (and play a great game of eye spy since there is so much to see in the background and the camera keeps moving you are constantly seeing new things)

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