Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared, an emotional musical journey
by Muriel Del Don
- A film by Stefan Schwietert, a Swiss director of German origin, which transports us into a subversive universe with a highly refreshing punky feel
Winner of the prestigious Sesterce d’argent SRG SSR for Best Swiss Film at the recent Visions du Réel festival (where it competed in the International Feature Film Competition), Stefan Schwietert’s latest film shows us that his fame as a documentary-maker specialised in music is well-founded, and that his talent is always developing new and surprising sides.
Bill Drummond, the star of Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared [+see also:
film profile], lives by his own rules, and is a true icon of the British punk scene (a singer in the legendary band Big in Japan). An anarchist at heart, he’s always looking for new conventions to break down and turn on their heads in the name of the sacrosanct “Do It Yourself” motto. He had (and then sacrificed) his moment of glory with acid house project KLF, which pushed him to do the extreme, in line with his revolutionary ideals, and burn a million pounds. After this highly controversial “performance”, Bill Drummond returns on the scene with music project ‘The 17’, a truly counter-current concept that leads us to reflect on what would happen if music were to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth.
Stefan Schwietert follows Drummond with his camera, travelling across the vast British countryside in search of new voices for his choir project. Our Scottish musician’s aim is to create an entirely new musical composition, just like Schwietert is trying to build a documentary on a fleeting utopian musical experience. Drummond longs to protect, through his ‘The 17’ project, the magic of music from the greed of the mainstream. The compositions of this unusual choir are condensed fragments of lives, glimpses into the diversity of a society on the brink of explosion through music.
Drummond and Schwietert try, each in their own way, to examine the as of yet unknown side of human beings through the magic of artistic expression, through music and film. Theirs is a dramatic and emotional journey that goes beyond its subject matter, towards that unique, fleeting “something” that could be called art. With his documentaries, Schwietert tries move beyond that which already exists, leading the viewer into a world where images emotionally translate the words of people. Through the gaze of Stefan Schwietert, Bill Drummond leads us into a “real” humanity, far removed from the glossy image of a pastoral and trendy United Kingdom where everything seems easy, artificially so.
The complex nature of this extremely stratified society is captured by the Swiss filmmaker with rare clarity of thought and sincerity. His camera accompanies Drummond from coast to coast, picking up on the “unsaid”, those suspended moments in which reality is transformed into something sublime. The sounds are intense and the images move in an unexpected way with the music of the everyday as if they were trying to fuse together to create an entirely new symphony. The magic of film is placed at the disposal of music, which becomes the protagonist but also its guiding spirit, its very essence. Schwietert’s latest documentary captures the deep inner self of an enigmatic character who doesn’t give into compromise, highlighting his strengths but also and above all his weaknesses. Psychoanalysis through film which takes the viewer far away.
Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared is being distributed worldwide by maximage GmbH.
(Translated from Italian)