When the rock star PJ Harvey let visitors to London’s Somerset House watch her recording her next album through the smoked panels of some one-way glass in 2015, it seemed a rare chance to spy on a major talent at work. Spectators dutifully filed past the event, entitled Recording in Progress, while Harvey and her collaborators made music together.
But a glimpse like this into the backroom world inhabited by our favourite musicians is now not so unusual. In the past two years intimate, feature-length rockumentaries of every description have been falling off the production line each month, competing for cinema-goers’ attention.
May - Edition - Billboard - Magazine - Films
According to May’s edition of Billboard magazine, 11 new films about mainstream musicians, either documentaries or biopics, were all due out in cinemas over the next year, with many more niche productions lined up for music festivals or going out on streaming services. Last month Netflix brought us Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue, charting Bob Dylan’s mid-1970s tour, while just the month before critics were praising Amazing Grace, the late Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliot’s long-awaited film treatment of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 gospel session in a Los Angeles church. Out later this month is Nick Broomfield’s Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, a documentary about the influential romance between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. And for those PJ Harvey fans who did not make it to her Somerset House installation, Polly’s creative processes have also been committed to film by her long-time associate Seamus Murphy in A Dog Called Money, out in Britain in November.
The reason for the sudden glut is not only that documentary makers have been inspired by the surprise success of documentaries such as 2012’s Searching For Sugar Man, or Asif Kapadia’s Amy in 2015.
Investors - Power - Films
What investors have also noticed is the great power of these films to...
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