SOUNDVISION 01 NXNE Film Festival, running Friday to Sunday (June 8-10) at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor West). Free to NXNE wristband holders, single tickets $8 available at the door. 416-863-6963. www.nxne.com Rating: NNNNN
the north by northeast music festival's film component, Soundvision 01, makes a point of screening edgy movies, which differentiates it from the chestnut-filled series on offer at last March's Canadian Music Week event. The Rose, anyone? Most of the slate may be visceral, but it isn't always visionary. Here are some highlights.
ROCK OPERA directed and written by Bob Ray, produced by Barna Kantor, with Jerry Don Clark, Chad Holt, Ted Jarrell and Steve Gurvich. 86 minutes. Saturday (June 9), 3:15 pm. Rating: NNN
generally, this sort of backyard
filmmaking produces "so bad it's funny" results. But while Rock Opera, a dope-deal-gone-wrong movie, is as uneven as hell, an undeniable garage-band energy drives its tale of untalented musicians and a guy who turns to dealing drugs to finance their "tour."
Writer-director Bob Ray is too fond of tricky camera angles (the opening shot is up through a glass coffee table), but it looks good for no-budget 16mm, and Ray does have ideas about how he wants it to look.
The big problem is the hero, Toe, who's about as smart as a bag of hair. You have to admire the idiocy of someone surrounded by potheads who can't make any money selling weed, but watching really stupid, stoned guys for 90 minutes has limited appeal -- unless they're really funny, and these characters aren't.
FOR THE LOVE OF ROCK directed and produced by Wendy Tumminello and Lynda Allen, with Amy Ray, Jane Siberry, Janice Robinson and Kate Schellenbach. 90 minutes. Sunday (June 10), 3 pm. Rating: NNN
this presents itself as a movie
about women in rock, so at the risk of being a spoilsport, one must ask where the actual women rock stars -- Chrissie Hynde, PJ Harvey, Courtney Love -- are.
Many acoustic guitars are strummed in this picture, and many people interviewed who have, at best, a tangential relationship to rock, like soul singer Janice Robinson and rapper Toni Blackman. And on that subject, when did the Indigo Girls go electric?
However, as a portrait of people confronting career marginality in an increasingly corporate culture, it's got some interesting insights from the likes of Indigo Girl Amy Ray and Kate Schellenbach, drummer for Luscious Jackson, one of many people who discovered that, technically speaking, she owes her record company about a million dollars.
RAGE: 20 YEARS OF PUNK ROCK directed and produced by Scott Jacoby and Michael Bishop, with Jack Grisham, Jello Biafra and Don Bolles. 68 minutes. Friday (June 8), 5 pm. Rating: NN
if a guy is 35 years old, still work-
ing in a truly marginal punk band and complaining that "nothing real ever breaks through," maybe he should re-evaluate his career options.
This is a portrait of the L.A. punk scene 20 years on, with comments by Jello Biafra, who actually has a sense of humour, and a number of people who confuse incompetence with authenticity. Conspicuously absent are Exene and John Doe from X and Henry Rollins, perhaps the scene's best-known artists. Rage is less impressive than Penelope Spheeris's Decline Of Western Civilization, which comes closer to the moment and has a better perspective on it. The real treat is Chris Stokes's punchy graphic design, which gives the film the look of a badly mimeoed fanzine.