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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neil Young Journeys Film Premiere

Neil Young Journeys Film Poster


The premiere of the new Jonathan Demme film of Neil Young Journeys was last night at the Toronto Film Festival.

From Music and spit: Neil Young gets extreme close-up - Times Union by DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer:
TORONTO (AP) — Neil Young's latest concert film is so up close and personal it leaves the audience viewing the rocker through his own spit.

"Neil Young Journeys" premiered Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival. Afterward, Young joked with the audience that a tiny camera mounted on his microphone for the concerts "scared the hell out of me."

The camera was so close that it caught a glob of the singer's spittle, creating a blotch on the lens that gives the footage a bit of a psychedelic tinge.

Director Jonathan Demme told the audience he decided to include that sequence in the film, quipping that it was like a "hundred-thousand-dollar special effect."

Jonathan Demme & Neil Young
Photo by Ed Boutilier


From Young greeted warmly at Toronto festival, but remembers when city was colder - Winnipeg Free Press By: Nick Patch, The Canadian Press
TORONTO - Neil Young received multiple standing ovations as his new concert film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, but after the screening he reminisced on a time when the city was considerably less friendly to him.

Young was born in Toronto and spent much of his early life in Ontario before moving to Winnipeg. He returned in the mid-60s as a fledgling folk musician, and found a frigid reception.

"You know, I was a complete failure," Young said during a Q-and-A session following the screening of "Neil Young Journeys," after claiming that he originally wound up in Toronto because his car broke down.

"We just tried and tried, but we couldn't get work here. I got some really terrible reviews."

"But I knew I was good. I was just in the wrong place."

He was in the right place Monday, as an adoring audience packed the Princess of Wales Theatre to watch his latest collaboration with Jonathan Demme, the Academy Award-winning director of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Rachel Getting Married."

Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette


From Neil Young Journeys: Toronto Review - The Hollywood Reporter by by John DeFore:
Anecdotes about pet chickens and youthful misdemeanors will only prove compelling for the most avid fans, but the genial scenes make a relevant backdrop for the introspective, backward-looking material in the set list.

Stage footage is almost evenly split between songs from 2010's Le Noise and older favorites, highlights of which include a lacerating "Ohio" and piercing "Hey Hey, My My." Young's distinctive voice is almost startlingly clear, the instrumental sound strong and well mixed.

Young performs on a smartly decorated stage, with crinkled backdrops evoking stained glass, a wooden Indian standing beside an organ, and a couple of acoustic pianos to alternate with Young's guitars. There's nothing in the production concept as bold as, say, Demme's Stop Making Sense, though the director shoots two songs with a camera affixed below the microphone -- let's call it the GrizzleCam -- that offers an extreme close-up of Young's whiskers and, during "Hitchhiker," is obscured by a large drop of his spit.

Neil Young, Jonathan Demme & Elliot Roberts
Photo by CBS/WJMK


From 'Neil Young Journeys' Brings Le Noise With TIFF Premiere of Jonathan Demme Doc - Spinner Canada:
One of the questions we asked when we were making the film is: Will we be able to deliver the visceral element of the sound?" Demme said.

To help deliver that impact, Young insisted on presenting the doc with a level of sound quality never before seen in the film world. While sound for movies is usually 48 kHz, Young insisted on 96 kHz. With the help of TIFF and his friends at Meyers speakers, the notoriously meticulous singer was able to install a soundsystem at the Princess of Wales Theatre that would support his vision.

"This is the first time a movie has ever been seen with that sound system," Demme announced.

From Rust List by Sharry (Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive):

"NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS" TRACKLIST

1. Peaceful Valley Boulevard
2. Ohio
3. Down by the River
4. Sign of Love
5. Rumbling
6. Love and War
7. Leia
8. After the Gold Rush
9. I Believe in You
10. My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)
11. You Never Call
12. Hitchhiker
13. Walk With Me

Sharry's report @ rust : Message: Neil Young Journeys (SPOILER -- Part 1):
Continuing with the "I Am A Child" theme, one of Neil's ex-classmates from Grade 4 at an elementary school in Toronto was selected to speak during the Q&A
session. Mary Ellen B. introduced herself and Neil's face immediately lit up. He recognized her name right away. He said that Mary Ellen was his "first girlfriend." I had interviewed Mary Ellen for "A Shakey Education" and she had called me earlier in the day to let me know that she planned to attend. (We were able to meet face to face -- for the first time! -- after the screening.)

Neil relayed an amusing story about winning a prize at a game at a community fair. He thought he had won a beautiful piece of jewellery. He had a bit of a crush on Mary Ellen so he decided to present her with a token of his affection. He went to her house but she wasn't there. He gave the gift to Mary Ellen's mother with instructions to give it to Mary Ellen. It turned out that the "golden necklace" was really a fancy dog collar choker chain. It was crafted in a chain-link fashion with little golden medallians hanging from it. Mary Ellen didn't have the heart to tell Neil that his lovely gift ended up on the neck of their pet boxer.

Thanks Sharry!

From DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog
Neil is admittedly in great form here, but the star of the movie is definitely director Jonathan Demme.

Only one filmmaker has ever been able to capture live performance as brilliantly as Demme - Martin Scorsese. But not even Marty has delivered as MANY great live performance documentaries as Demme. Will anyone ever forget their first screening of The Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense? This was truly one of the most exciting and visually gorgeous concert films imaginable (save, perhaps, for Scorsese's The Last Waltz). Demme managed to outdo even himself with the astounding Swimming To Cambodia wherein he captured the genius of the late Spaulding Gray delivering one of his outstanding monologues.

Demme's crowning glory, however, must surely be the trilogy of Our Lord's concert films Neil Young Heart of Gold, Neil Young Trunk Show and now Neil Young Life.

The best of the three is still Heart of Gold - it had the most clearly defined aesthetic approach of the three films, but there are plenty stunning moments in Life; a heartbreaking "Down By the River", numerous great renderings of material off His "Le Noise" album and finally, a truly powerful sequence in honour of those slain during the Kent State Massacre.

The sequence begins with Neil driving around his old hometown of Omemee and admitting that the only time he listens to music these days is when he is driving in cars - this statement leads into the sweetest cut imaginable as Neil launches into one of the most soulful renderings of "Ohio" I have ever experienced. Neil is in exquisite form here - his passion and intensity is pitched so acutely that one could close one's eyes and just listen and be forced to open them to allow a flood of tears to pour out.

What pushes us over the top emotionally during this sequence is the beautifully edited newsreel footage of the Kent State Massacre, a roll call of those innocent young people murdered by the National Guard and finally, a collage of the victims' photos accompanied by their dates of birth and death - all the more gut wrenching as the photographs reveal such brightness and promise in the eyes of those who were slaughtered like pigs by their own government - and for no reason.

If this were the only sequence worth watching in the film, then the entire picture would still be worth seeing. In fact, while Neil Young Life - as a film - falls a bit short of Heart of Gold, the Kent State sequence renders some of the entire trilogy's greatest moments.

From New Neil Young Doc Aims for 'More Emotional' Version of Live Shows | Rolling Stone Movies By Karen Bliss:
"I wanted to be able to pull the viewer into the narratives of Neil's songs, to really be there onstage," Demme told Rolling Stone the day after the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. "Performance films can try their hardest to compete with a live performance — which we can't — but we can go in close and we can get a more emotional version of what he's doing."

For Journeys – the first movie ever to be recorded at 96 kHz (twice the sound data) – director of photography Declan Quinn employed six human-operated cameras and five icon cameras ("the size of a cigarette box") to capture this one-man show. The concerts were the last stop on Young's tour for 2010's Le Noise album, produced by Daniel Lanois. The tiny cameras were also attached to an organ and a piano for "After The Gold Rush" and lilting new song "Leia," so that the shot is through those instruments pointed at Young.

DEVELOPING - Check back...

Also, see Preview Clip of Neil Young Journeys: New Jonathan Demme Film.


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22 Comments:

At 9/13/2011 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous alex said...

Ishhhh, Bad Bad Bad poster.

 
At 9/13/2011 11:53:00 AM, Blogger Fr Jr. said...

I cannot wait to see this film, especially as I think I did a similar trip, albeit with Neil riding shotgun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtl8PQYUfYU

I went back 3 months later, museum still closed!

 
At 9/13/2011 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Carson said...

Went to the premiere last night and I was blown away. Having been to the Massey Hall shows, I can say that the impact of the music on film was perhaps even greater than the live experience itself. The sound was gut-rattlingly good, and I loved the unique camera angles -- especially the Neil deep-throat cam. It was also very cool to see Neil driving through Toronto on the film, really added to the impact seeing Neil drive familiar streets I take on my daily commute to work.

The Q&A after was also quite revealing. An old crush from Neil's early years revealed herself and Neil, while seeming less-than-thrilled to be on stage earlier, seemed genuinely ecstatic to see her. They had a lovely exchange in front of the capacity crowd.

Neil also revealed that he's been thinking a lot about his days in Ontario recently, as he just finished writing one book, and is currently working on another. Very interesting stuff!

Overall, I don't see how a Neil fan couldn't enjoy this movie. A truly excellent finale to the Demme-Neil trilogy, though I hope they find ways to collaborate again!

 
At 9/13/2011 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

I'm glad to see Neil reaching out to people from his childhood. It's re-energizing!

It gives him more to draw from when he's in the middle of his creative stirr of magic, mayhem, and muse...


See ya'll at the movies, folks!

 
At 9/13/2011 01:39:00 PM, Anonymous alex said...

The show was so damn good, I'm sure the film can only be excellent.

 
At 9/13/2011 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Demme's trilogy will be screened @ Milano Film Festival this week. Journeys italian premiere!

 
At 9/13/2011 04:14:00 PM, Blogger JimDC821 said...

Ahem, obviously, this is Neil's second "Journey Through the Past"

Cannot wait to see this film !

Hopefully see it sooner than Trunk Show ! (or is Neil holding that for Archives IV?)

Jim

P.S. Agree that poster is lame.

 
At 9/13/2011 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there too. very intense different perspective compared to being a Massey.

But perhaps most importantly, it was the first film ever to use 96khz sound quality. No film had ever used better than 48.

 
At 9/13/2011 09:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syscrusher

 
At 9/14/2011 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous Nathan Johnson said...

I love neil and demme but I want to throw up all over that poster

 
At 9/14/2011 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

FYI - Neil's daughter, Amber Jean was given an art credit for "Neil Young Journeys."

Not sure if that means poster, as well.

"Hate is easy. Love takes courage."
Anon

 
At 9/14/2011 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Just because Amber Jean may or may not have designed the poster doesn't preclude us from saying it's lame. Because it is.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

When will it be released? Five-ten-twenty years? Never? :)

Is Warner stopping production right now?

 
At 9/14/2011 02:54:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Who cares about the frickin poster. What's next? Neil's eye color is all wrong? As in music, there is no best in 'art'. And if Amber Jean did put it together imagine the joy it brought Neil.

All you critics sit alone.

 
At 9/14/2011 04:52:00 PM, Anonymous alex said...

I think visual arts in music is actually interesting and important in my opinion. I'm not saying it makes or breaks my respect for an artist but it's definitely a good thing.

PS : To be honest, it always creeps me out when people talk about Neil's family like theyre close acquaintances.

 
At 9/15/2011 07:04:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I 100% retract my lame comment about the poster. Upon a bit of reflection - based on Sony's mature and thoughtful comment concerning Neil's joy related to his daughter's involvement - I realized I was being an internet putz. I have a daughter and once I began to think about real relationships, etc. and life and love - it doesn't matter if I like the poster or not.


I love Neil - Neil loves his daughter - therefore - you get the idea...

 
At 9/15/2011 08:58:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Jonathan - thanks for that. That's big to admit & reverse.

fwiw, it's OK to have a negative opinion of something. What we dislike is to say something is lame/sucks and walk off.

Why is it lame? What would make it better? What do you like?

That's called constructive criticsm and is useful. Driveby snark is just sort of a waste.

of course, IMHO. :) peace

 
At 9/15/2011 03:29:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

I rememebr an art project that my daughter did in elemetary school that made the front of the School homemade recipe book one year. Made her quite happy. It wouldn't make the cut too many other places. Anyhow, she's heading for art school soon, got alot better, and enjoys the heck out of it. That makes me happy too. So, I'm smilin' on you brother, everybody get together......can't wait for the film to make it to western NY.

 
At 9/16/2011 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the 'Journeys' screening in Toronto on Monday. During the Q&A someone in the audience asked Neil if he still keeps in touch with the members of CSN. Neil replied that he does keep in touch with them and is on good terms with many musicians he's played with, mentioning "Crazy Horse" by name. Thought that was interesting and hadn't seen it mentioned by anyone here or on Rust.

I don't want to read too much into it, all he said was that he's still in touch with them, but at least that's good to hear.

Roy

 
At 9/17/2011 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks Roy. Good to know.

Maybe someday The Horse will ride again...

Thanks for sharing.

 
At 10/02/2011 01:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea when Journeys will hit theaters near us (or anywhere, for that matter)? I missed Trunk Show and really don't want to miss this one, too.

 
At 10/02/2011 03:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK - I'll answer my own question:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/rust/message/270986

Can't wait.

 

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