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Festival Playlist – Sound AND Vision: Music movies at BFI London Film Festival 2015

Festival Playlist – Sound AND Vision: Music movies at BFI London Film Festival 2015
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The 2015 London Film Festival begins today (7 October) and to guide us through the music-related movies that will be screened in the capital between now next week (18), Stuart Brown, music programmer and Head of Programme and Acquisitions at the BFI, has made Q a Playlist of tracks featuring in this year’s films. “Music is onion to film’s cheese, salt to its pepper, caramel to its chocolate,” he declares. “You get the drift, music is an intrinsic part of the experience of cinema. So it follows that where we find great cinema, we find great music. This week, the BFI raises the curtain on the 2015 London Film Festival, a joyous celebration of the finest exponents of the art of cinema.”

David Bowie – Suffragette City

“I couldn’t resist kicking this playlist off with it as a tribute to our Opening Night film, Sarah Gavron’s highly anticipated Suffragette starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, and to Festival Director Clare Stewart, a strong woman who has made strong women in film a central theme of this year’s festival. What a tune! It’s all right, it’s outta sight…”

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Janis Joplin – Cry Baby

“Like Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin was a skinny white girl with a big soulful voice and a deeply felt connection to music rooted in African American culture. Both also famously struggled with addiction and died tragically at 27, just as they were hitting their peaks. Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (West of Memphis) has created a portrait of a hugely witty and talented free spirit who had a middle finger up for the small minded establishment that tried to suppress her. Her voice on Cry Baby is something to lose yourself in.”

Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream

“Oh God, I love this record so much. My mum used to play it when I was a kid and I was ecstatic when I discovered my friends at college loved it as much as I do. It features in a brilliantly simple and moving film about a huge but shy and awkward man by Icelandic writer-director Dagur Kari, called Virgin Mountain, which I recommend whole-heartedly.”

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The White Stripes – Ball And Biscuit

“I’ve chosen this to highlight the festival’s World Premiere of The American Epic Sessions. Jack White congregates an amazing line of musicians around a lovingly restored example of the earliest recording machines the Western electric lathe. The effect is spellbinding, as iconic musicians of today relive the recording experience of the founding mothers and fathers of their art. Jack White is right up there for me with the greats, I was torn over what to choose for this but went for Ball and Biscuit because I love the attitude and the guitar solos. I recommend playing as loud as possible in your car.”

The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop

“Another to one to play loud. We are premiering Brendan’s Toller’s hugely enjoyable portrait of cultural phenomenon Danny Fields, a self professed ‘faggot’ who dropped out of Harvard law school to move to New York and become a lynch pin of the Factory scene, hanging out with Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground and eventually managing Ramones, MC 5, and working with The Doors, Stooges and Patti Smith. This doc is a testament to a great gay and punk cultural icon.”

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Nas – NY State Of Mind

“Keeping it in New York here, and with the volume up. Stretch And Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives is quite simply essential viewing for anyone who loves hip-hop. Made by the legendary DJs themselves, it tells the story of their radio show that ran throughout the 90s and introduced the world to a jaw dropping list of MCs who went on to define the genre – Nas, Wu Tang, Big Pun, Jay Z, Eminem to name but a few. Nas’s Illmatic is by far my favourite rap album, it set a new bar when it hit in 1994 and still sounds razor sharp 20 years on.”

Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

“Without a doubt my favourite dance floor track, if this comes on in the club you know it’s time to bust out your finest moves. Fresh Dressed is hip-hop writer and documentarian Sacha Jenkins account of how the fashion of hip-hop emerged from the streets of New York to infiltrate both middle America’s shopping malls and the catwalks of the couture fashion world.”

The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It (pictured)

“Bringing it back home now and one of my favourite tracks of the year from a band crafting their work around the corner in Elephant and Castle. Directors James Caddick and James Cronin combine a document of The Maccabees pushing themselves to record their incendiary, life affirming fourth album, with a spirited exploration of the streets and people that live in their midst.”

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Songhoy Blues – Soubour

“Imagine living in a world with no radio, no stereos and no live music. It is difficult to contemplate, but that is exactly what happened in an area of Mali in 2012. Islamic Jihadists took control of Northern Mali and through a harsh interpretation of Sharia law they banned all forms of music. Johanna Schwartz’s powerful film They Will Have To Kill Us First, follows artists from Mali forced into exile but desperate to keep their music alive. Including the wonderfully infectious and energetic Songhoy Blues, who will be present at the festival and playing live.”

Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna

“Having come up as a teenage devotee to Pop Will Eat Itself, I’ve followed Clint Mansell’s second career as a film composer with keen interest. He’s one of the best and most sought after in the business and we had the pleasure of presenting a masterclass with him in 2013. He has scored the new feature from Ben Wheatley, (Director of Sightseers, A Field In England and Kill List and fast becoming an important voice in new British Cinema), High Rise is his adaptation of JG Ballard’s novel about a dystopian societal collapse set in a single tower block. I haven’t seen it yet and I can’t wait, I’m a big fan of Ben. Lux Aeterna is from Clint’s extraordinary score for Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream, and is one of my favourite pieces of music.”

For more about the films, including screenings and tickets, head to Bfi.org.uk/lff


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