English
Po festiwalu
Gazeta Festiwalowa "Na horyzoncie", nr 6
23 lipca 2012
A Singer's Story


Ian Haydn Smith

Editor, International Film Guide

A collaboration between singer-songwriter Antony Hegarty and acclaimed artist and filmmaker Charles Atlas was always going to be special. But ‘Turning’ is a sublime performance film that plays well to both artists' strengths.

Antony's most significant contribution to film prior to this had been his performance of 'Rapture' in Steve Buscemi's ‘The Animal Factory’ (2000) and the inspired use of 'My Lady's Story' in the credit sequence of Paolo Sorrentino's ‘The Family Friend’ (2006, also screening at this year's festival). That song came from Antony and the Johnsons second album 'I Am Bird Now', which won the Mercury Prize in 2005. The success that followed it was a far cry from the New York after-hours bar and club scene where Anthony first made his name in the early 1990s. Since then, he has worked with a variety of artists, including Rufus Wainwright, Boy George and Lou Reed. He would contribute to Reed's ambitious 2003 musical adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven' and would be a significant presence in Julian Schnabel's ‘Berlin’ (2006), a filmed performance of Reed's seminal 1973 album, at St. Anne's Warehouse in New York. 

Charles Atlas has worked with the choreographers Michael Clark, on the 1986 mockumentary ‘Hail the New Puritan’, and Douglas Dunn, as well as Marina Abramović, on the 1994 performance-theatre piece ‘Delusional’. However, he is probably best known in recent years for his work with Leigh Bowery, on 1999's ‘Teach’, which was inspired by Lucien Freud's paintings of the artist, performer and muse, and the award-winning 2002 documentary ‘The Legend of Leigh Bowery’.

Atlas and Antony first met in 1992 at New York's Pyramid Club. The singer was one of the co-creators of the Blacklips Performance Cult, described as a 'collective of 15 downtown artists, gender mutants and drug-addicted hybrids in various states of breakdown and toothlessness'. Members of that collective appear in the new film.

Through these performers, the '13 NYC Beauties', Antony and Atlas present an oblique, fragmented cultural biography, and a challenge to how we perceive gender roles. The darkness that shrouds the stage at the beginning of the film soon lifts to reveal the women, in various guises. With each new song performers step forward to accompany Antony. Some are confrontational, while others remain stationary as cameras move around them, relaying images on to screens above the stage. Each of these vignettes relates to moments from the group's past, whether it's New York's post-punk era or the devastation wreaked by AIDS.

‘Turning’ would add up to little if the material upon which the film rests was anything less than inspiring. Antony's voice, at times soaring like an angel over the audience, is augmented by his subtle arrangements. So much has been written about his vocal ability that Antony's skill as a songwriter is occasionally overlooked. The film is an excellent showcase for these plaintive melodies and richly evocative lyrics whose power to move has few equals in contemporary music.

Moje NH
Strona archiwalna 12. edycji (2012 rok)
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