The programme for this year’s BFI London Film Festival was announced earlier this morning.
As usual, there’s a strong line-up among the 238 fiction and documentary features on show.
Among the headline films, I’ve already written about Todd Haynes’ Carol, and I’m looking forward to seeing Ben Wheatley’s JG Ballard adaptation, High Rise, Bone Tomahawk – a cannibal western starring Kurt Russell – and Trumbo which stars Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. There’ll be more, of course: but for now, I wanted to flag up some of the key music documentaries showing in Festival.
Here, then, is my pick of – apologies for the alliteration – this year’s crop of rock docs…
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A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON
Directed by Les Blank
This documentary on Leon Russell was filmed between 1972 – 1974 by director Les Blank; surprisingly, it has never previously been released.
JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE
Directed by Amy Berg
Amy Berg’s Janis Joplin documentary drawing on archival footage, contemporary interviews and the singer’s personal correspondences.
THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS
Directed by Bernard MacMahon
Part of Jack White and T Bone Burnett’s American Epic project; this documentary recreates the recording conditions of the 1920s, with artists including Elton John, Willie Nelson and Alabama Shakes recording straight to wax.
THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST: MALIAN MUSIC IN EXILE
Directed by Johanna Schwartz
Filmmaker Johanna Schwartz documents life for musicians forced into exile when Islamic Jihadists took control of Northern Mali in 2012. A companion piece, if you like, to Timbuktu.
STRETCH AND BOBBITO: RADIO THAT CHANGED LIVES
Directed by Bobbito Garcia
Garcia’s documentary about The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show which broadcast on New York’s WKCP radio during the 1990’s and incubated emerging artists including Jay Z, Nas and Eminem.
You can find more information about this year’s BFI London Film Festival by clicking here.
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