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Kill Your Idols
Kill Your Idols
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 15min

Featuring: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth, Theoretical Girls, DNA, LIARS, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Gogol Bordello, flux information sciences, Lydia Lunch, Black Dice, Swans, A.R.E. Weapons, foetus and Glenn Branca. Plot O...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Documentary
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 08/29/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 15min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

As complex as you're willing to be.
Maud Gonne | New York, New York | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Enigmatic and deliberately hypocritical, this is not a typical documentary film.

Taking cues more from video art than journalism, the film is structured thematically and is more complex than a linear historical survey. The editing cleverly compiles interviews with the originators of No Wave, newer bands, and Sonic Youth (the bridge between) into a sort of a dialogue of confession and criticism. The director doesn't conceal the fact that the cuts in editing pervert time, which appropriately comments on the medium of documentary film itself.

Shot in NY homes and streets rather than studios, Kill Your Idols meditates on the notion of nostalgia, time, scene, and music history. The film is unique for the ability to display the intentions of art through the musicians' view whether they sound dignified or not. It's clever and cocky and insightful. There are connections and contradictions. There are no pre-chewed short cuts. The film won't tell you what to think, but it will make you do so.

(The hour+ of special features on the DVD are very worth mentioning and include a lengthy, great featurette.)"
Works better as a launching point than an overview (2.5 star
Clare Quilty | a little pad in hawaii | 12/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Prior to watching this documentary about the New York art-music scene of the late 70s/early 80s, I didn't know much about the groups and musicians that are featured -- Lydia Lunch, Swans, Suicide, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Only the more familiar Sonic Youth floats in this churning sea like a comforting lifesaver.

Now having seen "Kill Your Idols," I still can't say I know very much about the groups, but I do know their names and got a sample of their sounds.

The reason for that is because the film tends to put each band under a microscope, tightly sealed under a slide, and it doesn't really provide enough context about the scene itself.

But it almost doesn't matter because "Kill Your Idols" gives viewers a pretty good launching point to discover music most people haven't heard before. The segments that spotlight the early individual bands are all engaging in their own ways and although to say, "I wanted more" is a complaint, it's also a compliment.

Where the movie is less successful, however, is in trying to draw a connection between the previous scene and the current one.

The fusion doesn't really work because most of what you have is the older guys saying the new scene sucks/is contrived/doesn't break any new ground (although for the most part they refuse to name names other than the Strokes). The popular refrain of "music today sucks" is basically repeated through most of the second half of the film.

Meanwhile, the film also presents the younger guys and newer bands who are cast as either carrying or dropping the art-rock torch, and they seem to know what they're talking about, but they don't come off very well -- Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs mostly seems smug and disingenuous, and the guys from A.R.E. Weapons dunderheadedly try too hard to be hip; for the most part, only the leader of Gogol Bordello really approaches some good points.

Handsomely shot and edited (although the stylish chapter cards last way too long), this is a good place for a newbie like me to start, but additional research will be required.

"
LYDIA is great in her truthfulness about the NYC scene
SarahK66 | Houston, Texas | 06/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This one is really good as documentaries go. I love the interviews especially Lydia Lunch just making fun of all the new kids in the New York music scene... thats the best part!!!"
A WOLF IN WOLF'S CLOTHING (4.5 stars)
Leslie H. | 11/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"(4.5 stars) Superficially about the ultra-obscure New York art-punk scene across the past three decades, this cleverly edited film is really a meditation on originality and nostalgia. Made by jack-of-all-trades director S.A. Crary (who directs, shoots, edits, and produces the film) and famously rumored to have been budgeted in the three-figure range, the film's a slickly edited and surprisingly gorgeous tribute to New York's vibrant musical community. From even the opening credits, Kill Your Idols has an attitude in step with the music scene it's surveying, its images and pacing offering a cool reflection of its subject matter. Like the bands it covers, Kill Your Idols is constantly experimenting with form and challenging audience expectations and documentary tradition. Crary splices together interviews so deftly and playfully that the different artists seem to continue each other's thoughts; he goes so far with this technique as to have them alternating words, particularly when listing occurs, etc.. It's a neat technique, one that engages the viewer and creates parallels across generations and geography. The result is not just a documentary ON an artistic movment, but an artistic statement itself--a tone poem to innovation and creative inheritance that serves up its brutal truth with wit and humor. The great success of Kill Your Idols is that it's not just another pre-scripted history of details you can easily source in Wikipedia entries--it's a mishievous commentary and sincere investigation into the notion of history itself. A small, but standout piece in the cluttered world of music documentaries."