Thursday, October 13, 2011
NYFF 2011: The Ballad of Mott the Hoople (2010)
The screening Tuesday night was a mixed affair, it was a great movie with a great audience with some miscues getting everyone in to the theater.
I'm not going to go into anything that went on before the screening I'm only going to say that I am displeased with whomever scheduled Paradise Lost 3 at 615, with a post film Q&A with The Ballad of Mott the Hoople at 9. My complaint is simply that because of all of the events with Paradise, Mott the Hoople started about 15 minutes late which meant that Stan and I had to fly as soon as the credits rolled to make trains home. Normally this would be fine but the fact that Ian Hunter, lead singer of Hoople was in the house and going to be interviewed, meant that a truly once in a life time opportunity was lost by yours truly.
It was nice that Stan got a wave from Hunter as he went into the theater and it was great that Hunter was cheered when he took his seat. Hunter has touched the lives of many people and it's nice that we could give some appreciation back.
Actually I think the screening of The Ballad of Mott the Hoople was my favorite of any one at the film festival so far. Here was small, but very appreciative audience which was there because it loved the subject. I don't think there was anyone in the house how didn't want to be there. Basically there wasn't anyone who wandered in because this is what they got a ticket for or because it was a main slate selection and must be good or for any reason other than Ian Hunter and the music. It was the first film I saw where no one walked out, where everyone did more than just stare at the screen (they bopped along to the music) and where there was a real sense of being at something truly magical and special.
There was a moment, not surprisingly during the section on All The Young Dudes when I noticed that every person there was into the film. Everyone that I could see was moving to the music. Anyone who's face could see was singing along silently. It was this glorious moment when the festival stopped being a bunch of single people sitting alone among strangers, and it became a community of people sharing a marvelous experience.
The film that created this love is one of the best films at the festival. This is pretty much the story of how Mott the Hoople came together and eventually came apart...until the 2009 reunion.
Its an often funny story full of great music. Its a film that had me laughing, singing along and smiling from ear to ear. Its a nostalgia trip back to the early 1970's when pop and rock and roll were changing and colliding in all sorts of interesting ways.
I should warn you that the film is focused just on the story of Mott the Hoople. You are getting the story of the band and little else, perhaps the story of some fans, but that's all. There is no detailed back story of any of the members, to the point that you will not even learn anything about their families or what happened to any of them after they left the group. This last bit is kind of the film's only real flaw.
I loved the film a great deal. After I have no idea how many films at the festival that seemed to take forever, I can honestly say that this one moved like the wind. I couldn't believe how much they were getting into such little time, only to realize that the film was over. I did check my watch once...moments before the end credits rolled.
This film is a blast, and a real joy to see with a room full of unintroduced friends with a love of the same thing. Sadly there weren't as many as it should have been, and so only the few of us in attendance will ever know how great the film plays on a big screen.
If you get the chance to see this film do so. Yes I know the screening at the festival is done, but it's coming out on DVD in about 4 weeks so you can do it that way...or you can and should hope this gets even a brief theatrical release where the real magic of the movies can be seen in all it's glory.