Minggu, 21 November 2010

Penelope Spheeris - The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Centered on the early '80s punk movement, this remains the best of Penelope Spheeris's three attempts to chronicle the musical and angst-ridden subculture of urban Los Angeles. The film's style, like the music, is abrasive, frank, and packed with energy, as it moves swiftly from hilarious band and fan interviews to the loud, raucous shows inside seedy L.A. nightclubs. Despite its tongue-in-cheek title, Spheeris neither condemns, nor glamorizes, the movement, though she definitely has an eye for talent and thankfully plays favorites. Lesser acts like Alice Bag Band and Catholic Discipline are given minimal screen time (enough so we understand why they've been forgotten) in favor of bands that either possess off- stage charisma (Circle Jerks) or onstage potency (Fear's finale, winding their audience up with insults, is punk in its purest form). And, then there are X and Germs lead singer, Darby Crash. These two subjects comprise the majority of the film, as Spheeris hangs around their houses, captures numerous performances, and presents the movement's peak performers. While X does it mostly onstage--their mix of thrash and rockabilly are the most enjoyable of the live performances--Crash's stage is everywhere. A walking disaster, the singer candidly details--with simultaneously self-mocking humor and sadness--his drug abuse, miserable life, and the places that no longer let him play. The fact that he died shortly after production stamps Spheeris's brazen time capsule with a morbid, though appropriate, epitaph.

Thanks to orinal uploader.

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