The inaugural Palace Touring: Music Film Festival 2019 heads to the Palace Cinema Paradiso next month (August 1-14), promising some of the best music films ever made. With the 4k restoration of Oliver Stone’s Jim Morrison bio pic The Doors: The Final Cut screening as the centerpiece of the festival (a chance to see Twin Peaks‘ Kyle MacLauchlan as Ray Manzarek), X-Press Film & TV Editor DAVID O’CONNELL takes a look at the collection of the most iconic music movies, and recommends his Top 5. Check website for details and session times.
20 Feet from Stardom
This Academy award winning documentary shifts the spotlight off of center stage to shine some light on the under-appreciated talent of the backup singer. These talented working musicians are the voices that we all know, off of the some of the greatest songs that we’ve ever heard, yet they lack the recognition of the rockstars that rely on them. An enlightening documentary that is both uplifting and a genuine revelation.
This is Spinal Tap
It’s a no brainer really, a chance to see one of the best mockumentaries ever made on the big screen is just too good an opportunity to pass up. Rob Reiner’s 1984 satirical masterpiece follows the fictional (although they’ve since gained a pseudo-life beyond the screen) British heavy metal band Spinal Tap, as they set off on a disastrous American tour. Sharp, cutting and hilarious, this film really does go up to 11.
An exploration into one of the most important Australian artists of this generation. Blind since birth, indigenous artist Geoffery Gurrumul Yunupingu has left an undeniable legacy of musical greatness. Through Yothu Yindi, the Saltwater Band, and his own acclaimed solo career, this documentary by industry insider Paul Williams gives us an undreamed of access to the intensely reclusive individual through both home film and archival footage.
4. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Director Ron Howard’s (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Willow) snapshot of the Beatles at the start of their ascendancy, this documentary covers the early touring years of the iconic band and shows what rocketed them to stardom. However, beyond the deep dive into Beatlemania, what really makes this film special is the beautifully restored 1966 Shea Stadium concert footage. As an added bonus the cinematic release of this documentary had a 4K restored The Beatles at Shea Stadium broadcast of the concert (originally by Ed Sullivan Productions) consisting of 11 songs. Given the 138 minute run time, this looks to be the version being screened here, and something not to be missed by Beatles fans.
The talent and the tragedy of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse is fully revealed in this 2015 Academy Award wining documentary. A comprehensive look at her life, there’s more than a little that’s bitter sweet at this glance into the personal family archives, and the unbearable loss of such a great talent so young to drug and alcohol addiction. This will certainly bring tears to your eyes, but is also a fitting remembrance of her body of work, and the voice that could cut through all that pain.