Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Perfect Combination of Punk Rock and New Wave

Breaking Glass (1980) - Gibson Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.14.14 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.00.40 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.02.58 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.03.42 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.25.07 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.04.34 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.06.05 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.07.41 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.08.42 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.09.33 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.10.31 AM Screen Shot 2021-03-16 at 9.11.12 AM There has been a number of 'rise and fall of a rock star' movies, but nothing quite got my mojo going as Breaking Glass has. It stars Hazel O'Connor as Kate, a talented musician struggling in the dreary music landscape still dominated by disco - it's the end of disco era and the rise of New Wave, the year is 1980. Her music is just the right combination of punk and new wave, the look, the staccato singing style, energetic beats - it's extremely catchy and very awesome over all. O'Connor wrote and sings all the songs that are in the film.

Danny (Phil Daniels who played pretty much the same character in Quadrophenia a year before), a music promoter trying to find a talent in the grimy clubs and pubs in London, finds Kate and sees great potential. After sweet-talking her to be her manager even though she doesn't believe in either manager or record deal, he forces her to hold auditions for her new band in her flat. Soon the cool band, Breaking Glass is assembled, including a quiet, hearing aid wearing junkie Saxophone player Ken (a semi-young Jonathan Price) who hits off with Kate musically.

Kate gets inspirations from the grungy, politically volatile Thatcher area streets. Breaking Glass has to fight off rowdy pub crowd and neo-Nazis while performing. Breaking Glass hits the road and gathers some new fans. A sort of romance blooms between Danny and Kate also. And all of sudden, the music industry execs who didn't give Danny any minds before flock in to sign a record deal with Breaking Glass. And they slowly interfere with the band's business and push Danny out. Danny calls it quits in the heat of argument in the tour bus and hops off. The success gets to the heads of some band members and Kate starts taking drugs just to go on stage.

Again, the best part of the film is O'Connor's music. Her energetic presence and musical talent is undeniable. It is pretty obvious where Ridley Scott got his inspiration for Pris in Blade Runner. All the music acts, the new wave looks, the story are all so very engaging. I can't believe I haven't come across this film before. Along with Quadrophenia, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, Streets of Fire, The Commitments, Velvet Goldmine, Breaking Glass becomes one of my favorite rock films ever.