Silver Docs is sponsored by the Discovery Channel and the American Film Institute annually in Silver Springs, MD. I’m trying to see as many films as I can, but I don’t have enough time in one weekend. “We Don’t Care About Music Anyways…” is a Japanese documentary about musicians on the edge of Tokyo’s urban landscape. They perform in condemned factories, sprawling landfills, and any place that can handle their sound. This generation of musicians isn’t about the music, but knows that the economic growth is coming to the end and they will not live as well as previous generations. The status quo no longer has anything to offer so they choose to live outside the box. It’s like they know the end is near and want to beat it to the punch.
I was really excited to see “We Don’t Care About Music Anyways…” because I love Japanese culture and the idea that sometimes music is just about making noise. The film however is, just noise. Producer Jerome Aglibert was on hand to be painfully French and also inform us that the volume was turned up just for this film. It was also the last showing on Friday because it would disturb the other theaters. Then 80 minutes turned into a life time as I watched static images bombarded with an electric cacophony so painful it forced people to walk out. Most of the music sounds like you’re slaying a dragon with a Geiger counter.
Interviews with the musicians around a barren table in a smoke filled bunker like room were really personal and in-depth for their brevity. These moments are interrupted by more of the awful music. I would have really enjoyed learning more about the musicians than listen to the music. When you do get to meet them there are seldom introductions or even their name at the bottom of the screen so you have no idea what band is playing or who is talking. Much of the film is voiced over by the musicians, but you never know who is talking.
While only 80 minutes long I cannot stress how long this movie feels. I resisted the urge to walk out because I kept checking my phone to find only a few minutes had passed. The intercut shots of Tokyo are alright, but linger and often add nothing to the film, but interrupt its flow.
Jerome Aglibert then held a Q&A session after the film. Please keep in mind that Jerome is French, his accent is thick, and his English skills aren’t the best, but he can make his points understood.
Q: Why were you attracted to this project?
A: I was excited by doing a film no one wants to do.
Q: How do the musicians create this kind of music?
A: They use the background to Tokyo and their lives to make the music. They draw on all the sounds they’ve heard in their lives like video games.
Q: Do you feel this is actually a documentary?
A: No, it’s an object not a documentary, maybe even and experimental film.
Q: Were you unable to get any of the musicians you wanted?
A: We wanted Masho (I believe he is talking about Saki Masho), but he was not reachable.
Jerome closed with, “This music is shit, but you always hear shit.”
If you enjoyed We Don’t Care About Music Anyways… you might also enjoy:
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