SXSW (Nearly Complete) Review: Rise, Ride, Roar
Please allow me to preface this breezy, casual, semi-incomplete review of sorts by saying that I missed the last fifteen minutes of this film in order to catch a plane (I am incredibly antsy about catching flights… I blame my dad.) I was the designated time watcher of the group (not an easy feat in a dark theatre with a watch sans numbers — not to mention, I have this strange frenzied “time telling” issue that developed in grade school. To this day, I still panic when questioned by someone, “What time is it?”)
Rise, Ride, Roar is a documentary film chronicling the songs of the David Byrne and Brian Eno tour conducted by David Byrne in 2008 and 2009. This concert documentary was director Hilman Curtis’ first feature length film. Curtis was also the director of the short film that is included in the deluxe edition of the Byrne–Eno album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. The energetic flick bounced back and forth from showing various behind the scenes aspects of the rehearsal process to complete live concert performances during the tour.
Byrne decided to combine his pop/rock music with modern dance, selecting three professional dancers to accompany him — as well as incorporating choreographed dance moves for his musicians and himself throughout the jaunty concert numbers. The film was shot with multiple cameras during several concerts throughout the tour with performances that combined classic Talking Heads songs with songs from David Byrne and Brian Eno’s most recent collaboration.
This film also provided entertaining and unique interviews with David Byrne as well as the supporting musicians and dancers. It was those intimate and open moments in the documentary that I found to be particularly enjoyable (from what I could see anyway between the giant hair of the woman in front of me and my constantly hustling to check my watch during the moments when David Byrne’s bright, white shirt would light up the screen–also, I took one bathroom break, sorry.) David Byrne gave a delightfully awkward and somewhat confusing and disjointed (in true awesome David Byrne fashion) tour of his cluttered home office in which he nonchalantly mumbled half thoughts about his equipment and getting music from Brian Eno via email. Byrne simply spouted out things like, “It had no words, I put words to it.”
The interviews with band members and dancers were peppered with charming and exclusive insights as well. One dancer recalled and spoke of an incident at one of the shows in which Byrne stopped his performance to reprimand a security guard. David paused and yelled down at the guard from onstage, “What the fuck are you doing? I said anyone could take pictures if they want to. Why are you stopping him?” After relaying this story to the interviewer, the dancer then quipped, “It was a very uncomfortable moment, like watching your dad start a fight.”
I think that while ready-made fans of David Byrne and Brian Eno will appreciate this film the most, this lively and personal documentary is certain to snatch up some new admirers as well. It pained me to leave Rise, Ride, Roar early and I fully intend to catch the last missed fifteen minutes of the film soon. I am convinced it was most likely an exponentially spectacular and crucial piece of the documentary because that is just my luck — which incidentally, is consistently of the “I just backed into wet paint and swallowed my gum” variety.
Here is the trailer for Rise, Ride, Roar.