9 Songs

Based on nothing other than David Fear’s 250 word review in Time Out New York, I suspect Michael Winterbottom’s new film 9 Songs which alternates between hard-core porn scenes of a couple having sex and indie-rock concert footage, is a brilliant meditiation on the way our shallow relationship with flash-in-the-pan pop bands mirrors a lustful white-hot sex-only relationship with someone we don’t have anything in common with in the long run. (These pop-band crushes flame out quick, but they can be intense — just read the mash notes in any record review column.) Only I won’t be able to confirm this suspicion because I have no interest in (a) watching other people fuck or (b) watching Franz Ferdinand and their ilk perform live. So I was especially grateful for the review that brought this insight into focus for me. (Fear called the film “a lyrical ode to dead lust.”) It’s great that the review can convey to me the worthwhile point of the film without making me have to undergo the unpleasant experience of watching it to “earn” it. Sure, purists will say thie experience is necessary to really merge thought and feeling and truly understand the concept of a film, and perhaps that’s true. But I doubt it in this case; I think a review with good intentions of giving the film every benefit of the doubt can pithily sum up what you’d get out of it. It seems to me that this is the noble task film reviews often perform and music reviews rarely do. You don’t have to even be interested in a film to glean something provocative from its review, but music reviews rarely provide such grist — too often they are connoisseur pronouncements from on high.

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