Karen Shook previews the 3rd Doc n’ Roll Film Festival, coming to Hackney Picturehouse and Picturehouse Central between 2 – 13 November.
R&B moguls and die-hard metal fans, ambient pioneers and funk groundbreakers, fearless rule-breakers and chaos merchants, punk rock and personal tragedy, tales from the road and the studio, exiled jazz greats and Myanmar rebels, raw-hearted songsmiths and charismatic freaks: the wide, wonderful, weird, wilful and fascinating world of music commands the big screen this November thanks to the third annual Doc’n Roll Festival.
From the Orb to Bert Berns; from Placebo’s Russian odyssey to the Melvins’ decades-long US saga and Parliament/Funkadelic’s genre-defining vision; from the Parkinsons’ gleeful daring to saxophonists Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon in Denmark, and Frank Zappa’s caustic wit and restless self-redefinition; from the black-metal massive to politics and protest in Burma; from Sid and Nancy’s haunted end in the Chelsea Hotel to the byways of the Netherlands with all-American iconoclast Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the inner world of Norway’s St Thomas – this collection of films draws on unique directorial visions and fan-fuelled dedication to present behind-the-scenes truths and prove just why this music moves us so much.
Expect to encounter new takes, fresh interpretations, unexpected insights, rare performance footage, uncomfortable truths, exclusive interviews and, everywhere and always, the music itself: these films – all of them premieres, being shown for the first time in the UK – paint a rich, revealing and diverse picture.
It is a roster of stories as unique as the talents whose work moved, outraged, challenged and charmed us in the course of claiming a place in popular music history and in the ears and hearts of music lovers the world over. They remind us just why the inventiveness of music-makers will never cease to astonish us, changing our lives as much as it changes those who make it. Bring your eyes and ears; in the world of Doc’n Roll, there’s everything to listen and watch for.