Devo felt inspired by the creative passion of Brian Eno before they literally worked with him. The legendary member of Roxy Music and producer of Devo, David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2, and many more is profiled in one of the most unique films to ever play at Sundance. It may be simply called “Eno” but there’s nothing simple about Gary Hustwit’s experimental film, a documentary that generates itself anew every time it screens. Using a new program designed specifically for it, “Eno” blends hundreds of hours of interview and archival footage into a new form every time it plays. There are clearly tentpole scenes—comparing notes with critics at other screenings revealed this—but the montages in between, the framing of boxes in shots like the image above, and it seems many of the actual archival interviews change every time you watch it, reflecting the unusual creative process of its subject.
The approach of “Eno” isn’t just a perfect blend of form and content, but one that transcends the typical problem of a doc like this one in that Brian Eno’s work speaks for itself. Having said that, he’s a wonderfully charming interview subject, funny and open about his process. While footage of him gardening and watching YouTube clips he likes is fun, it’s the process stuff in (at least my version of) “Eno” that’s unforgettable. Watching him work with Bowie as they unpack the recording of “Heroes” or seeing a very young U2 play with the tempo of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is the kind of granular music history that I could watch for hours.
Perhaps due to its process and its subject’s legacy, “Eno” is the rare bio-doc I wish was longer. Again, at least in my version, it feels like there are major chapters missing, but the goal here doesn’t seem comprehensive as much as reflective. Brian Eno is a genius who was unencumbered by traditional music production. Why make a traditional documentary about him?
Finally, there’s a new version of maybe the best rock doc of all time. Dave Grohl calls “Dig!” that in a new introduction to what’s being billed as “Dig! XX,” a 20th anniversary version with new narration and over a half hour of new footage. It rocks. The first movie rocked and this version rocks even harder because the truth is that I could watch the saga of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre for hours.
#Sundance #Devo #Eno #Dig #Festivals #Awards