Thursday, August 13, 2009

of the
Part Nine

I recently
the follow-
ing film for
Video Lib-
, and thought the results were worth sharing.

(Sam Dunn & Scot McFadyen, Canada, 2008, 93 mins.)

In their follow-up to Metal - A Headbanger's Journey, co-
directors Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen explore the effects of
globalization on heavy metal. Simply put: why is a genre with
roots in the working-class West so popular around the world?
They find that it has a lot to do with the newfound freedom to
express oneself and to live a life unencumbered by tradition.

The duo starts in Brazil, where Dunn visits a metal mall, looks
back at the Rock in Rio Festival and speaks with Sepultura's
Max Cavalera, who was so broke in the band's early days that he used batteries to duplicate a bullet belt (in their commentary, Dunn notes that this interview actually took place in Arizona where Cavalera now lives with his family, including son Igor).

In Japan, Slayer's Tom Ar-
aya and Kerry King recall
unhinged shows in the East,
though fans tend to live di-
vided lives: rowdy at concerts and in Karaoke bars (where Deep Purple rules); quiet at work. Journalist Yoshiyuri Ohno even compares KISS to Kabuki Theater, which explains, in part, why their outlandish look met with such little resistance.

In India, Dunn chats with metal heads in Mumbai who feel al-
ienated by the pervasiveness of Bollywood ("It's nothing") be-
fore moving on to China, Israel, and Indonesia, which has, sur-
prisingly, welcomed a number of major metal bands (the film-
makers include footage of Sepultura and Metallica in concert).

Though Iran authorities deny his visa application, Dunn still
manages to talk to a number of outspoken Iranian, Saudi Ara-
bian, and Egyptian musicians at Dubai's Desert Rock Festival.

If Global Metal seems like a case of cashing in on a successful
predecessor, it stands alone as a music documentary with abun-
dant appeal for metal lovers and cultural anthropologists alike.
Special features include commentary, extended interviews, and
outtakes. In 5.1 Dolby Surround and Stereo 2.0. Recommended.

Note: Slightly revised from the original text.

And here's a short version of my Metal review (click here for the long version).

(Sam Dunn, Jessica Joy Wise, & Scot
McFadyen, Canada, 2006, 96 mins.)

While The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal
Years looked at the platinum likes of Aerosmith and Poison and
while Some Kind of Monster looked exclusively at the monolithic
Metallica, Dunn, Wise, and McFadyen take a different tack in Met-
al - A Headbanger's Journey. Narrator Dunn and his compat-
riots paint what may be the most comprehensive portrait yet.

From the outset, Dunn explains
that his background is in an-
thropology, so he breaks heavy metal down into its constituent parts by starting at the beginning and moving up to the present, using interviews, timelines, and archival footage.

During the course of the trip, he travels from his Victoria, BC
hometown to the UK to interview Black Sabbath's Tony Iom-
mi, Germany to attend the annual Wacken Metal Fest and to con-
verse with Ronny James Dio, LA for Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil,
and Norway for the current crop of Norwegian black metallists.

Other subjects include Geddy Lee, Bruce Dickinson, Dee Snider,
and rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie, along with members of
Girlschool, Voivod, and the leather-faced Slipknot, while top-
ics include class, gender, sexual orientation, and censorship.

By seeking out well-spoken
individuals like Dickinson and
Snider, it may seem as if Dunn
is attempting to defend metal
from its detractors. He is. For-
tunately, his tone isn't defen-
sive, and he gets an assist
from such non-stuffy aca-
demics and scribes as Deena Weinstein and Chuck Klosterman.

Dunn also speaks with fans to bring their perspective into play,
but there's no way he can cover everything in 96 minutes. While
he does an admirable job, for instance, in looking at women in
metal, sexual orientation gets short shrift and race isn't mention-
ed at all. (It should be.) Nonetheless, Dunn has helped to craft a
film that treats the object of his affection with dignity and respect.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part Eight: Scott Walker - 30 Century Man

Endnote: Images from Heavy Metal Universe,
Metal Sucks, Spokane Examiner, and Tartarean Desire.

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