Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Punk Soul Brothers

A Band Called Death (2012) - Covino, Howlett
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What a great story. The Hackney Bros from Detroit was the proto-punk band that predates The Ramones by a couple of years. In the leadership of David (Guitar, songwriter), his younger brothers Bobby Sr.(Singer, Bass) and Dannis (Drums) spent most of their teen years practices rock music. David was one of those super talented kid who was also somewhat of a dreamer - we all know a couple of friends who are like that. He had the whole concept set up in his mind. Death and triangle logo and everything. But it was their band name, Death, was a real killer from ever getting a record deal in Motown heavy recording industry at that time. The two brothers relocated to New England and pursued other things (forming some lame , christian rock, reggae band), and David perished without getting the taste of success that his talent deserved. In 2000s, Bobby's three sons, also amateur punk musicians, with the help of some punk collector aficionados (including Jello Biafra) discovered their Dad and uncle's music, which they deemed awesome and started promoting their music by covering Death. I mean, it must've been the greatest feeling for a teen to discover that his dad and uncles were a cool punk rock musicians (and not some lame-os who played in a reggae band called Lamb's Bread) by way of some hot girl playing their music at some hipster party. Even cooler, David the dreamer, shortly before his passing, handed Death's master tape to his brothers, saying, "Keep it, because one day, people will come looking for this."

System of Down

Quod erat demonstrandum (2014) - Gruzsniczki
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Yet another slice of social realism film from Romania under the Ceausescu regime in the 80s. Gruzsniczki shows the demoralizing effects of its oppressive system in the lives of three of its inhabitants. Sorin (Sorin Neoveanu), a brilliant mathematician is on to something big. His theories alluded to be the basis for all the future technology - internet, voice recognition, cell phones, etc. Fearing his defection to the West, the regime's making his life extra difficult, meaning, no Ph.D. candidacy, no promotions, no publishing opportunities, no visa. His old college friend Elena (Ofelia Popli) is under surveillance after her husband defected to France. With a troubled teenage son and an ailing father, her only hope is joining her husband in Paris. Alexandru (Florin Piersic Jr.) is a seasoned policeman who is getting snubbed when it comes to promotion. He needs to make friends in higher places and get a breakthrough to get ahead. All these life's struggles are captured in beautiful, crisp monochrome image in incredible details. It reminds me of Barbara by Christian Petzold. It's grittier and colder, and understandably so.