Tabitha Denholm Pairs the British Guitar Band with a Slow-Mo Vision of Louisiana
“I’m talking about death, family, living in the city and sex,” says David Tattersall, guitarist and vocalist of British indie rock trio, The Wave Pictures. “I hope that doesn’t sound too heavy, it’s a simple song and I put some jokes in the lyrics too.” “Like Smoke,” the evocative track in question, closes the band’s latest album City Forgiveness. Released on the London-based Moshi Moshi records, the poignant, acoustic slow jam is here given an unexpected dance partner in filmmaker Tabitha Denholm’s footage of Louisiana trail riders at an R&B-infused zydeco music party. “My friend [the blues-rock musician] C.C. Adcock was always regaling me with tales of the great music, food, people of the countryside of New Orleans,” says Denholm, who documented the Creole community in late 2013, currently developing a film on Balearic club culture. “After I went there, I couldn't get the imagery of people taking horses to dance parties out my head. I think the combination brings out something new and quite lovely in the footage and the music.” As the band continued their UK tour with French artists Stanley Brinks and Freschard, NOWNESS quizzed Tattersall on his music heroes.
I love The Rolling Stones, especially the early rhythm-and-blues stuff. When they did things like Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” or Rufus Thomas’s “Walking The Dog” they were so good: you really hear what sensitive and sympathetic musicians the Stones are.
Wreckless Eric is someone who I admire very much. Especially the albums he made in total obscurity in the 80s: Le Beat Group Electrique in particular is very, very good.
Wild Billy Childish is a genius at recording, a great sonic artist who really understands rock and roll. At his best, he’s the equal of someone like Link Wray in the studio.
Lately, I really love The Who. Strictly the early stuff. The Who went shit quickly and stayed shit. I can live without all that pompous rock opera nonsense. But the debut album is totally killer. They have so much energy. Pete Townsend is a crappy lyricist, but he was a great guitar player.
The Wave Pictures play Islington Assembly Hall in London on April 18 and have a limited-edition vinyl release of the “Helen” EP for Record Store Day on April 19.
Celebrating 30 Years of the Film Festival with Lauren Moffatt's Look at the Power of the Gaze
Art, film and technology collide at Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier exhibition, where installations and multimedia performances from Doug Aitken, Chris Milk and emerging Paris-based artist Lauren Moffatt are subverting traditional storytelling. Exploring refuge and rebellion in our CCTV-saturated culture, Moffatt’s wry Not Eye is featured in its full stereoscopic glory at this year's showcase, and is presented today in 2D. “I like characters who are withdrawn but I am not interested in victimizing them,” says the filmmaker of the elderly French madame played by Daniele Hennebelle who stars in the quasi documentary, and whose homemade helmet is the last line of defense against the modern world’s all-conquering gaze. “The woman in the film talks very clearly about what she is afraid of, all the while staring straight into its face. That sort of courage and indignation drove the conception of the helmet and of the character wearing it.” NOWNESS spoke to Sundance curator and programmer Shari Frilot about the painter-turned-director’s installation at New Frontier, 3D filmmaking and other future-focused ideas.
What are your thoughts on film as an installation piece?
Shari Frilot: The moving image as encountered in an installation gets the viewer’s body involved. This resonates strongly with how we engage with it in our networked and media saturated environment.
How do these new filmmakers twist their storytelling techniques?
SF: Cinema culture is no longer simply contained in black box movie theaters, it is woven into the fabric of our everyday. Veering from traditional storytelling, and all of the binding structures that come with it, creates a more capacious storytelling culture.
With Sundance’s 30th anniversary, how have you seen Park City evolve over the years?
SF: I’ve seen indie film culture floss large with lots of swag and cash in the early noughties, and the bust of the economy and the indie industry in 2009. At the moment there is an incredibly exciting rebirth of the movie business happening, and with it a revitalization of the role indie filmmaking is playing in cinema.
New Frontier runs at the Sundance Film Festival from January 17 through 25.
A Short Film Exploring Life on the Road With Florence and the Machine's English Songbird
Tabitha Denholm's "Florence: Letter from LA" is a sunny meditation on pop stardom, premiering exclusively on NOWNESS today. It captures Welch during her fall 2010 American tour for her debut album Lungs (which earned her a Best New Artist Grammy
nomination). We see the flame-haired British songstress swimming in pools, driving on highways and marveling at the surreal nature of fame and the places it has brought her. "I wanted to record this unique time in Florence's career because I knew it would be a one-off," explains Denholm, who co-directed several of Welch’s early music videos with Tom Beard, notably for the single “Rabbit Heart.” This new short film is one in a three-part series collectively titled
Letters From America, which also trails Welch to New Orleans and New
York. "Florence has this energetic whirlwind side, and then this incredibly quiet introspective side," Denholm reveals. Welch says she decompressed from touring by taking in the country on foot: “I saw so much beautiful American stuff—the bewitching buildings of New Orleans, a crazy Halloween in Boston. If I wasn't playing a gig or flying somewhere, I was just walking; constantly lost, constantly overwhelmed by the beauty of what I was seeing." She also chilled out to a carefully compiled playlist—check out the soundtrack here.