The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present an omnibus of immersive, inspiring music events and films this spring to celebrate the evolution and diversity of contemporary music culture.
Björk: Biophilia Live Exempt from Classification
To launch the season, from Monday 27 October – Sunday 2 November 2014 ACMI will screen one of the most inventive and breathtaking spectacles the music industry has ever seen, Björk: Biophilia Live. Shot on 16 cameras over one night at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2013, this jaw-dropping concert film was directed by Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio) and Nick Fenton (The Double). It features Icelandic chanteuse Björk performing all the songs from her eighth studio album Biophilia, which includes custom built instruments and an educational app that’s being rolled out in curricula worldwide.
The term ‘biophilia’ refers to the urge to affiliate with other forms of life – a theme explored in Björk’s mesmerising performance. Biophilia Live opens with images of dazzling crystals, shifting tectonic plates and shimmering fluorescent bacteria as Sir David Attenborough waxes lyrical about our interconnectedness with nature.
Assembled onstage is an Icelandic choir, percussionist Manu Delago and electronic multi-instrumentalist Matt Robertson. Bespoke instruments include a pendulum-harp that creates musical patterns by harnessing the Earth’s gravitational pull and a giant Tesla coil that shoots musical electricity. At the centre of it all stands one of pop music’s most eccentric and prolific innovators adorned in an oversized pom-pom headdress and electric blue chinstrap that’s reminiscent of an exotic sea animal. Variety described Biophilia Live as “a captivating record of an artist in full command of her idiosyncratic powers.”
Stop Making Sense G
Taking a step back in time and a shift in genres, ACMI will also screen Stop Making Sense from iconic rockers Talking Heads from Saturday 8 November – Tuesday 18 November 2014. Described by Rolling Stone as “the greatest concert movie ever made,” the US band envisioned a concert film like no other. They independently raised the funds and hired a then-relatively unknown filmmaker to direct. On release, Stop Making Sense was dubbed “close to perfection” by film critic Pauline Kael, while director Jonathan Demme went on to forge an impressive film career, winning an Academy Award® in 1992 for The Silence of the Lambs.
Stop Making Sense opens with David Byrne walking onto a bare, non-descript stage dressed in neutral tones, carrying a boom box and acoustic guitar. With his signature strum, Byrne launches into ‘Psycho Killer’ before he is joined by band members, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison and a suit of back-up singers. What follows is a flawless, groundbreaking performance from wide-eyed, electrifying Byrne as he jolts across the stage.
Shot over three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre in 1983, Stop Making Sense avoids the common clichés of concert films made in the 1980s. It maintains a fresh, inventive energy that redefined concert film for a generation. It is also notable for being the first film to entirely use digital audio techniques.
Melbourne Music Week
ACMI will present a very special live music event in association with Melbourne Music Week (14 – 23 November 2014).
The Church plays The Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d’un Poète) All Ages
In a performance specially commissioned and conceived for Melbourne Music Week, The Church will perform a live score to Jean Cocteau’s 1930 avant-garde film, The Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d’un Poète) on Friday 21 November 2014 at ACMI.
When they formed in 1980, Sydney band The Church was hailed for its new wave neo-psychedelic sounds, which later evolved into progressive rock, featuring extended instrumental jams and complex guitar interchanges. The Church’s music, which has been described by Los Angeles Times as “dense and shimmering,” will scintillate the aural senses of audiences as they are immersed in unique live music experience.
Brimming with timeless, surreal images, The Blood of a Poet is as intriguing as it is sumptuous. Hauntingly poetic, it’s a quintessential art film that explores the future possibilities of a cinema that are yet to reveal themselves. According to Filmique.com, The Blood of a Poet follows “an unnamed artist transported through a mirror into another dimension, where he travels through various bizarre situations.”
Commenting on The Church’s event at ACMI, Sowada said: “The evocative film, which is imbued with exquisite and striking visual compositions, will offer The Church, and audiences, immense creative stimuli.”
ACMI’s live music and films events will take place from Monday 27 October to Friday 21 November 2014. For program information and tickets visit acmi.net.au.