6.30.2008

Control

I wouldn't say that I came late to the Joy Division party so much that I wasn't ready for it, like my tastes hadn't matured or developed yet. I despised raw tomatoes as a child but now I love them. I loved (and still do) tomato sauce, but could not make that backwards leap to the vegetable.

When I first heard their sound in my college days, Joy Division sounded as it does to me today: different, disturbing, frenetic, dark, compelling. At that time, however, New Order, the band formed from the ashes of Joy Division, was at its commercial peak with the release of its Substance singles album and the True Faith single. I was looking for more of the New Order sound in Joy Division, but that wasn't to be, so I never really got into them.2007's Control, a film made by "rock photographer" Anton Corbijn (who photographed them in 1979) is a film about the band's rise and their singer's sudden suicide on the eve of their first American tour. The film is absolutely infused with Joy Division's music, from background to several memorable live performances.

What is amazing of the film, aside from each member of the band nailing the look of the real person, is that the actors played their own instruments and Sam Riley sang and took on the Ian Curtis persona to eerie similarity. (Ironically, Joy Division was known for being a bit sloppy live; the actors sounded more crisp "live" that JD on Still, but of course this is a movie.)

Below is a clip from the actual Joy Division group playing Transmission, which was included as a bonus clip on the DVD. It is uncannily recreated on film, to the point that the biggest difference is the footage is color versus the film's black and white:

Just their chosen name itself is subversive, thought-provoking, and utterly appropriate. I'm hard pressed to think of a cooler band name in history. From Wiki:
    The House of Dolls is a 1955 novella by Ka-tzetnik 135633. The novella describes Joy Divisions, which were allegedly groups of Jewish women in the concentration camps during World War II who were kept for the sexual pleasure of Nazi soldiers.
Not your typical bio-flick, and not your typical band. Now, years after my first exposure and with a clean palate, if nothing else it has moved me to dust off the old albums and listen with fresh ears to a vigorous, vital sound.

Control Trailer:

2 comments:

maggiemay said...

Tomatoes are fruits ... I'm just saying.

Matthew said...

Of course it is. I was clearly referring to it in culinary terms. From Wiki: "Botanically, a tomato is the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant: therefore it is a fruit or, more precisely, a berry. However, the tomato is not as sweet as those foodstuffs usually called fruits and, from a culinary standpoint, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, as are vegetables, rather than at dessert in the case of most fruits. As noted above, the term "vegetable" has no botanical meaning and is purely a culinary term."

In other words, I am top chef and you are semantic queen. :P