Monday, August 08, 2011


Almost none of this trailer is actually in the finished film, but it is very representative.

I really enjoyed the new documentary about Rowland S. Howard, Autoluminescent, which we saw at the Film Festival last night. Full house, seemingly. Probably made too soon after RSH's death (he died right at the end of 2009, just over 18 months ago) which might explain any element of hagiography: we were told in the q&a that RSH had hoped for a warts 'n' all account but that none of the interviewees were up for bagging him. There might have been too much Nick Cave (I am sure when the ABC edits it down to an hour for screening there it'll be pretty much all Nick Cave, it'll be the story of some guy who hung out with Nick Cave once with five minutes at the end of 'in 1985, he did not work with Nick Cave. In 1986, Nick Cave released this album, which RSH could not have failed to be familiar with...' etc.) but I disagreed in the main with the woman at the q&a who said NC came across as a dickhead.

There were some tremendous images and films of RSH in his early days and as I said to Mia I always enjoy a documentary that leaves you asking questions, so it was lucky for me that some penetrating lines of inquiry only penetrated a little way in, eg stuff about his early life which was barely mentioned; he just springs out fully formed and starts acting like a genius in a snappy suit and tie, until Mick Harvey tells him to come across with the creative goods or get off the pot and so he forms the Young Charlatans.

I recommend you see it, either at the movies in a couple of months or on DVD (I bet the DVD will be scintillating). I am not sure how much of a RSH lover you need to be to really get into it. The music is pretty amazing; possibly there's too much concentration on 'Shivers' but whatever, its ubiquity and applicability is discussed in depth and it's not presented as his lasting legacy to the world like 'Undercover Angel' will be for Alan O'Day when he dies (despite the fact that he also wrote 'Love at first night' and 'Skinny girls'). Also, it's put in an appropriate place in the chronology and not mentioned again, so that's all fine (I was hoping for a snippet of the Screaming Jets in there but that's OK).

Best interviewees were probably Genevieve McGucken and Harry Howard, though almost everyone came across really well, including the oldies and goldies like Mr Pierre and Ollie Olsen. Oh well. If it was too soon for them to make the film, and the q&a came too soon after the film itself last night, it's probably too soon for me to be formally reviewing the film, which I'm not, I'm just rambling it's early in the morning and I woke up an hour before I intended to.

1 comment:

B Smith said...

I would hope Alan O'Day is best remembered for writing "Angie Baby"