14 May 2006

Sonic Outlaws

I ordered the "Sonic Outlaws" DVD today. Here is a review, of sorts:

No Copyright? Sonic Outlaws Director Craig Baldwin

by Deuce of Clubs

Sonic Outlaws is the product of self-described "film bum" Craig Baldwin, who for almost two decades has been scavenging snippets of film and video and transforming them into "film collage-essays," as he calls them (his first film, Wild Gunman, was completed in 1978). Baldwin's 1991 film Tribulation 99 (with a soundtrack featuring the music of Yma Sumac) attracted a lot of favorable attention. "It was a very successful film, if I do say so myself," says Baldwin. "It did really open up a lot of doors for me." One of those doors led him to a spot on a lecture panel with Negativland's Don Joyce, from whom Baldwin learned of the band's troubles with Island Records.

Baldwin immediately saw that his own work was open to the same kind of legal challenge as Negativland's—and that the whole issue would make a great film. "This was just a good story," he says. "Not only was it a good issue to do a documentary on, but there was a kind of narrative hook to the whole thing...it had this humor and irony built into the story. It was a real drama. It wasn't just a discourse, it wasn't an intellectual treatise. It had this kind of pathos to it. And I was always interested in making films about ideas."


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