Wednesday, 19 September 2012

ANTON CORBIJN: INSIDE OUT DVD review

Following the renowned photographer, music video director and filmmaker, Anton Corbijn: Inside Out is now available on DVD.



If you're unfamiliar with the name Anton Corbijn, chances are if you've watched MTV in the last 20 years you are sure to have seen some of his work with bands such as Metallica, U2, Depeche Mode and Arcade Fire. Moving from photographer to video director to director of feature films Control and The American, his career has seen him help shape the identity of some of the biggest bands in the world and create numerous indelible images.

In this new documentary that attempts to understand Corbijn's artistic motives as much as possible (told in both English and the director's native Dutch), heavy praise is heaped on him from his subjects, with many of them agreeing that through his photography he has created an image for them to try and live up to. An intense but charismatic artist, Corbijn is a cool character who effortlessly blends in with cool musicians (who make up a large proportion of his subjects), who respect his artistry and ability to make them look good, with many of them (Arcade Fire, Depeche Mode, Joy Division) adopting his serious, gothic sensibility.

Bookended by a gallery opening of his photographic work, this film, shot around the time he was filming his under-appreciated spy thriller, The American, focuses on his work as a photographer, with brief sojourns into his work in music videos and film. Personally, it is his work in film that interests me the most, and that is the one aspect of his career that is under-represented here. With their music being so closely tied to his work, it's notable that there's no input from any surviving members of Joy Division, particularly since he created such a well received depiction of Ian Curtis in his 2007 biography, Control.

Leading a life that on the surface many would envy, Corbijn, a workaholic without a family life of his own, is not an unwilling participant but is clearly a bit uncomfortable being on the other side of the lens. The most he reveals about himself is his desire to be praised by his father, whose diplomacy towards his family Corbijn clearly found infuriating in his own serene Dutch way. He is at his most animated as he talks about his work, such as a shot list for a scene in The American, or a photoshoot with regular collaborators, Metallica; but these moments are outweighed by the film's lack of, for want of a better word, focus.

During one of the interviews with his much more forthcoming family, his sister relays a story that in an effort to address his childhood loneliness, Anton would withdraw "into his cocoon". Not much has changed, and that shell proves a tough one to crack. Despite its title, this isn't as much Anton Corbijn: Inside Out as it is Anton Corbijn: A Snapshot.


Verdict

Special Features:
+ Scene Selection
+ Trailer

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