Friday, February 8, 2008

Scorcese Shoots the Stones

Rolling Stones fans who recall watching Mick Jagger prance around the stage in the 60s and 70s, in all of his youthful rebellion and defiance, may be glad to know that he still does these things for a full three hours without let up. However, the youthful defiance has been replaced by the wrinkled ranting from a man who enjoys taking potshots at prominent members of the establishment. Including himself. Opening at the Berlin Film Festival but screening out of competition is the Martin Scorcese directed film "Shine A Light", a "really intimate look at the group" according to its director. The film was shot during the Rolling Stones Concert staged at the New York Beacon Theater in 2006; for which Martin Scorcese used 26 cameras and over 500,000 feet of film footage to capture the legendary rock band live.

Scorcese himself admits being inspired by the Stones constantly throughout the years, and wanted this film to get as close as possible on stage to feel the energy of a live concert; and project this on screen. Members of the band unanimously agree that Scorcese captured the essence of their performance and the energy that they were conveying to their audience. Mick and Keith Richards were happy with the film and praised the director's unobtrusive approach. Drummer Charlie Watts was open about saying he felt self-conscious watching himself on film.

The Rolling Stones have never left the scene and continue to play gigs and concerts to this day. Fans have thus seen them grow old right before their eyes. However, the film's close ups reveal the deep crevices of their facial wrinkles as well as the exhausted expression towards the end of the concert. There are times when it's excruciating to watch Jagger wiggle and strut at this stage of his life, fearing he could break several bones. The film does capture a lot of energy - energy you at times fear could consume itself and stop dead in its tracks right in front of you. A film clip shows an early interview with Jagger, circa 1970, asking if he would still be singing at age 60. At 65 years old, he is 5 years past that benchmark and there still seems no way of slowing down this geriatric rocker.

Michael Philip Jagger was born in July 26, 1943. He is a Golden Globe winning music composer, English rock musician, actor, songwriter, record and film producer, and businessman, who was Knighted by Prince Charles in 2005. Known for his riotous concerts in the past, advocacy of drug use, and violent behavior, he was once described in a song about the history of pop music, American Pie by Don McLean, as the devil, with these lines:

Jack Flash sat on a candle stick 'cause fire is the devil's only friend.
And as I watched him on the stage, my hands were clenched in fisted rage
No, angel born in hell, could break that Satan spell.
And as flames climbed high into the night, to light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight, the day the music died.

The film shows their lasting and universal appeal but the sex god image that once dominated their presence has wilted out of the picture. Even their life styles have achieved a certain level of stability and maturity. This is perhaps Martin Scorcese's attempt to cast the group as a dedicated band of musicians devoted to performing and entertainment, and be forgiven for the excesses of the past. He has taken them away from the depths of darkness to which they were relegated to belong, and asks audiences to Shine a Light at the band that defies time, senility and irrelevance.



Mad Economist said...

Excesses of the PAST? Gimme a break!
Whilst his facial skin has started to be pulled by gravity, while his flesh has started to be claimed back by the soil, Jaeger continues with his philandering ways and even knocked up a Brazilian supermodel. The ways of the past goes on..

From dust to dust, from ashes to ashes..

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Mad Economist,
if you say so :-)--Durano, done!