Control is the story of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, a much loved band whose stature and influence has far outlasted its rise to fame from the Manchester post-punk scene. Adapted from the book written by Curtis’s wife Deborah, it details the band’s beginnings and Curtis’ fall into depression, the collapse of his marriage and his struggles with epilepsy. An unknown, Sam Riley plays Curtis, and he is amazing in the role, as is Samantha Morton as Debbie. Directed by Anton Corbijn, the famed rock photographer who helped create those sepia-toned images for U2 (circa The Joshua Tree) and Depeche Mode during the heroin years, he brings that kind of grit to the look of the picture, creating a really vivid sense of time and place.
There’s more I could say about it, but you’ll have to wait for October when it comes out… or just find me and ask.
I am sad to admit I drifted off during part of Helvetica. I won’t say it’s the fault of the film, I’ve just haven’t been getting my usual beauty rest. If I don’t get 16 hours, I’m a basket case. I did enjoy the film, what of it I saw, a documentary about fonts and their effect on our lives in subtle and insidious ways. I learned that Helvetica is, in fact, Swiss (makes sense) and was developed to ascribe to the idea of “neutralism,” that it would have no particular political or stylistic weight. That must be why I find it so appalling. Still, the signs of it all over Europe, where much of the film was shot, reminded me of its clean, clear lines, and how much it does work… especially in airports. That font just makes me think of Heathrow. The designers and type nuts were interesting, but I didn’t feel that this was one of those docs that would appeal to anyone looking to see into a particular unfamiliar subculture… you really need to have an interest in this kind of thing to enjoy this film. The people in it aren’t quirky enough to carry the picture on their narrow shoulders unless you dig the type.
The shoulders of those astronauts in In The Shadow Of The Moon are certainly broad. It makes you wonder if NASA thought of how they’d play as American heroes after the fact when they were chosen to be part of one of the six(!) missions to the moon between 1968 and 1972. Much of the footage I was familiar with, though I did learn a great deal more about the characters of those men in a very, very exclusive club. These guys are more than your typical flyboys, they’re articulate and interesting. I guess they’ve had years to perfect their stories, but they seem nothing but honest. The picture serves as a great reminder of what we as a species have accomplished that is unimpeachably good. We’ve sent men to the moon… and we did it almost 40 years ago, when the computers were less sophisticated than our iPods. If I had a criticism of the film it’s that I would have like to have heard a bit more about the science and the math that got those guys up there and home in one piece. But the picture concerns itself with the experience of the astronauts, their stories. It’s surprisingly moving, hearing them try to describe the infinite they experienced out in space.
My night ended at the Seahorse, checking out David Myles and Rose Cousins, who was backed by Meaghan Smith at one point. The festival crowd was schmoozy and lubricated, but the tunes cut through.