Neil Young Journeys Film Premiere
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."
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."
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.
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
3. Down by the River
4. Sign of Love
6. Love and War
8. After the Gold Rush
9. I Believe in You
10. My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)
11. You Never Call
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.
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.
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Also, see Preview Clip of Neil Young Journeys: New Jonathan Demme Film.