On the first night of MIFF I went to see Scott Walker: 30th Century Man, a biographical documentary of the enigmatic musician Scott Walker. Director Stephen Kijak introduced the film and answered questions afterwards.
The film is very well made and tells a sympathetic story that does not cover much of Walker’s darker side or the reasons for his reclusiveness or slow productivity. It is also very revealing about his music and his obsessiveness and perfectionism in creating sound. His work has moved away from song and into sound – he’s now more like a performance artist in the studio and you could compare some of his music to Phillip Glass or Laurie Anderson.
Interviewees include David Bowie, Radiohead, Jarvis Cocker, Brian Eno, Damon Albarn and Johnny Marr. Kijak joked about getting Bowie to wear an ugly polo shirt in his interview segments and about his importance in getting the film made.
As usual ACMI were disorganised and the film started over 30 minutes late. The earlier session must have started late due to those arriving fashionably late. Their ticketing office is usually under staffed and the service is so slow. It’s so annoying to wait for so long when you’ve got a pass and are organised and get there on time to secure a decent seat. This rarely happens at other MIFF venues but seems common at ACMI, such as at the La Mirada Spanish film festival sessions earlier this year.
I first heard Walker through Bowie, and heard Bowie perform the Walker song “Nite Flights” in Milan during his Outside tour in 1996 (he’d recorded it on his 1993 Black Tie White Noise album).