New Neil Young Film Gets Up Close To Legend
The third Jonathan Demme directed film is to be his most intimate yet
Recorded at the legendary Massey Hall in Toronto on the final dates of his Le Noise Tour, 'Neil Young Journeys' is the third film to be directed by Demme following 2006's Heart Of Gold and 2008's Trunk Show, and the new film looks likely to be the most "up close and personal" of them all.
"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."
Rolling Stone reports that the interesting angles show every crease in the 65-year-old's face - his grey five o'clock shadow, the hole in his straw hat. There's even a spit particle that makes a prominent appearance on the lens and gives the effect of someone breathing on glass in winter.
"We had a discussion about when I spit on it and then it started getting funky," Young told the audience at a Q&A with Demme following the screening, to laughter. "And then the lights changed and it turned blue. It gets psychedelic and I was repeating some phrase over and over again; the piece of spit is going [makes pulsating gesture]."
"It looks like a $100,000 special effect," said Demme.
The film also intersperses footage of a car journey - hence the name of the film - undertaken by Young and Demme around North Ontario, beginning with Young's childhood hometown of Omemee. The duo borrowed a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria and they follow Young's older brother, Bob, in his 1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance, as they go down memory lane: his former home, school (now a park), Coronation Hall, Scott Young Public School (named after his father, a prominent sports writer) and other spots.
"I didn't know how we were going to use [the footage], but I checked and found out that Omemee wasn't terribly far away," said Demme. "I thought since we're going to be up there in Toronto, in Ontario, what happens when you put Neil in an old car, in his old hometown and drive into town? What will he say? What will it feel like? What will it look like?"
Neil Young Journeys looks likely to be released in the UK early in 2012
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