Tuesday, January 15, 2008

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Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in downtown Macclesfield

My birthday last Sunday, and what better way to celebrate than to watch the recently premiered (I live in Denmark) Control, the story of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis.

Directed by renowned photographer Anton Corbijn (who took some of the few photos of Joy Division during their short career), Control comes out as a remarkably quiet and "small" film and in that way perfectly in tune with the period where it is set.

Ian Curtis and his crowd of young music-world wannabees are hopelessly stuck in the common experience of Western Europe in the late seventies: Life has some level of comfort and security provided by an (increasingly sagging) welfare state system but you have only one choice of colour: Brown, and only one place to go: The dole.

Ian and his mates also share the paradox of living in a provincial town (City of Manchester) surrounded by a beautiful countryside but their heroes are David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol who's music and art revolves around the seedy and wild life in big metropolises like New York, London and Berlin.

In fact, the conflicts and tensions between the dreams and hopes of art and the realities of life are presented as the key to the troubled existence of Ian Curtis, who is squeezed between life and love with his young wife Deborah (and mundane responsibilities) and the growing demands and offerings of his position as lead singer with Joy Division, a band destined for "something big"

In the end Ian Curtis succumbs to this pressure (turbocharged by his battles with epileptic fits) and chooses his own way out of the pain of his existence.

The film comes highly recommended since it avoids creating either a fashionable myth out of Curtis (it is based on the biography of Deborah, whose near-impossible position as wife to a budging rock legend is played brilliantly by Samantha Morton) or rest on the common cliches about the fast and short life in a rock n'roll band and the burden of being a tortured artist. If you happened to be young during the same era and frequented the same type of milieu you're likely to appreciate its honest accuracy.

Obviously Ian Curtis WAS in many ways a tortured artist but in "Control" it is shown that it doesn't prevent him from having a good time, a sense of humour, sometimes act like a complete bastard or to make sense - Even if his final solution doesn't.

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What's up at YouTube: Interview with Anton Corbijn about "Control"
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Retro babe"...I love it when you cook, honey!
Ah, shaddap you sap - It's all pre-made!..."

^^^^^^
Panzer Sturmpanzer I
An early example of mobile armoured artillery, created by placing a SIG 33 150mm infantry gun on the Pzkpfw I chassis. The gun retained its complete wheeled carriage...
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(unfortunately) Also my people
(regrettably) Also my war

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