GLOBAL METAL (Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen). 93 minutes. Opening gala tonight (Thursday, June 12), 7 pm, at the Royal (608 College, 416-534-5252). $10, free w/ NXNE wristband (see page 62). Rating: NNNN
Mulling over the cultural effects of globalization isn’t always exciting. It often glazes the eyes rather than stimulate the mind.
Filmmaker/anthropologist Sam Dunn, who previously gave us Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, knows this by now. His latest, a look at heavy metal’s cultural elasticity and the impact it has had in South America, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, is an extremely well-put-together doc.
Global Metal pushes past simple fan interest to a genuinely fascinating exploration of how metal influences and, in turn, is influenced by cultural difference. The pacing works well and stays in tune with the whirlwind globe-trot undertaken by Dunn, while the human element – experiences within the larger frameworks of oppressive governmental regimes, poverty and religious wars – gives the film a surprising emotional weight.
By focusing on stories of police attacks on metal fans in Indonesia, or China’s discovery of the genre during its Cultural Revolution, the film is as much a quick contemporary world history lesson as it is a celebration of the music itself.