my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Maestro
Director:   Josell Ramos
Year:   2003
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   04.10.10

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
04.10.10Netflix I'm reading a book called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life about the history of the disc jockey. Although I've always thought i've been pretty aware of dance music and history ever since college when I started exploring techno dub reggaue and what all and since then I've kept an open eye out for any movies like 24 Hour Party People that deal with musical movements, I guess I never really sat down and thought about all the connections. With all sorts of different named genres and movements and scenes, it's easy to see them as discreet isolated elements but what i'm finding so fascinating about the book is that they really all connect together. The categorizing and separation are just ways for us to talk about it.

The problem with the book is that it has a whole bunch of interviews and names like three hundred seminal songs (it even has the top charts for each of the major clubs they talk about), but it has like 6 pictures and no thumb drive of reference music. So That's how I found this doc.

The poster has three clubs listed on its poster (Paradise Garage, The Loft, The Gallery) but it's really more of a love letter to Larry Levan and the Garage than anything else. There are spatterings of the social impact, historical significance, and industry inspiration surrounding the time period and it's true that the movie talks a bit about The Loft (and the Gallery gets, like, maybe a mention) but it's really all about Larry It really doesn't concern itself with a timeline or organizational backdrop or any of that. Which is fine... I guess you need a focal point for a movie or else it's just a random collection of people talking... but considering there only seems to be like 5 photos of Larry in existance and maybe 2 minutes of grainy dark VHS footage, the movie ends up relying on slowed down playback, out-of-focus filler, and repeated imagery an awful lot. Also, the guy manning the camera for all the interviews seems to get bored a lot so you end up with people being way too close or half out of frame or shaking all over the place, i suspect just because the filmmakers thought it was cool.

So as a stand-alone movie, it's not that great (I'm netflixing the second disc though because I saw online that it's like twice as long as the film so maybe the bonus materials will explore the other aspects 70s NYC dance clubs more), but as a companion to the book I'm reading it's perfect. It puts faces and voices to all the names I've been reading about for the past few weeks and constantly slips in music that's referenced in my chapters. Again, without reading the book I'm not sure I'd know or care who the majority of the people interviewed are, but since I am reading the book then it works very well. So I get to see how wreched Francis Grasso actually is (he's pretty wrecked) and hear all these foreign-sounding-named people with their NY accents and get a good moving vibe of what it was like in these clubs - all of which I was missing from my book. So I'd definitely recommend this to anyone in my exact position.

So as such, I liked this movie. But I recognize that I was not the typical viewer. I actually wanted the references to go further. like to put the name of each song at the bottom of the screen as it played or something like that.
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