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A Cinematic Year in Music

Cara Anderson
| December 5, 2016

As we start to wind down for the year we take a look at the some of our favourite films and documentaries released this year that have celebrated music and musicians and made for some of the most compelling cinema created.

Gimme Danger

Gimmie Danger can be described as American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s documentary love letter to punk icons Iggy Pop and his band the Stooges. Gimme Danger is brimful of music, clips and anecdotes.

Wide Open Sky

Wide Open Sky follows the heart-warming journey of an outback children’s choir and its founder Michelle Leonard’s personal mission to bring a desolate musical landscape back to life. Chronicling their journey from audition to stage, the film reveals the trials and tribulations of trying to run a children’s choir in the most isolated and disadvantaged region of NSW where sport is king and music education is non-existent.

Miss Sharon Jones!

The life and music of R&B queen Sharon Jones is captured in this heartfelt documentary, directed by two-time Oscar winner for Best Documentary Barbara Kopple.

Breaking A Monster

A young metal band takes on fame, the music industry, and childhood. This documentary follows the boys’ rise to fame and the troubles they face as they struggle with early adulthood and the pressures of stardom.

Born to Be Blue

This film was described as “semi-factual, semi-fictional” by Variety’s reviewer, Andrew Barker, who noted that the film is “about a character who happens to share a name and a significant number of biographical similarities with Chet Baker, taking the legendary West Coast jazz musician’s life as though it were merely a chord chart from which to launch an improvised set of new melodies”.

Highly Strung

Is a journey into a rarefied world of elusive tones evoked by horsehair on catgut; of investors tempted to spend millions on unique instruments; and a quartet of virtuosi caught up in a duel of tension and harmony.

Score: A Film Music Documentary

Music is an integral part of most films, adding emotion and nuance while often remaining invisible to audiences. Film maker Matt Schrader shines a spotlight on the often overlooked craft of film composing, gathering many of the art form’s most influential practitioners, from Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman to Quincy Jones and Randy Newman, to uncover their creative process.

I Saw the Light

A biopic of legendary country music artist Hank Williams. The film chronicles his rise to fame and the effect that had on his health and personal life.

Janis: Little Girl Blue

This documentary casts the spotlight on the uncompromising rocker Janis Joplin, as you’ve never known her before.

The Man From Mo’Wax

This documentary charts the highs and lows of a teenage DJ prodigy turned Mo’Wax label owner are laid bare in this warts-and-all portrait of tastemaker and UNKLE founder James Lavelle.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

Filmmaker Ron Howard examines the early years of the Beatles, from their club dates in Liverpool, England, to their concert tours in Europe and the rest of the world.

One More Time with Feeling

This 2016 documentary was directed by Andrew Dominik. It documents the recording of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ sixteenth studio album, Skeleton Tree, in the aftermath of the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur.

Sing Street

Director Jon Carney (Once, Begin Again) latest feature film is infectious and simply works as a feel-good musical with huge heart and irresistible optimism. Featuring a simple story of a bunch of music-crazed teens forming a band in 1980’s Dublin while the sounds of Duran Duran, the Cure and Spandau Ballet swirl around them.

What Happened, Miss Simone?

A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labelled the “High Priestess of Soul.”

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