Cinema Libre // 2012 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // June 30th, 2012
"Go behind-the-scenes and experience the creative process."
"In 2001, Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) invited well-known musicians from across the globe to play a series of concerts in New Zealand. It was a chance to form a band with friends, play some gigs, and break up before anything went wrong."
Flash forward to Christmas 2008. Plane-loads of world-famous musicians are descending on sunny Auckland, to embark on a combination mini-reunion and massive recording project at Finn's newly built, state-of-the-art Roundhead studio.
In keeping with the idea of getting in and out before anything goes wrong, the players (collectively dubbed "7 Worlds Collide") have agreed to team up in order to play three live shows and produce an album of newly-written material in just 20 days, with proceeds going to Oxfam, the global charity network dedicated to ending poverty.
On the roster are: WILCO members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirrat, Glen Kotche, and Pat Sansone; Ed O'Brien and Phil Selway of Radiohead; singer-songwriters Lisa Germano, KT Tunstall, Bic Runga, and Don McGlashan; guitarist extraordinare Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse), and ex-Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg.
Last but not least is Finn himself, who brings wife Sharon and sons Elroy and Liam to the proceedings. Families playing together is obviously important to Finn, who also invites the immediate families of all his musical brethren, putting them up in fifteen guest houses on scenic Piha Beach, and stating for the record that "any kid could walk in the door at any point of any session, and it would be fine."
The rule: "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is."
The Sun Came Out proves a joyous exception to that rule, documenting a Tsunami of creative juices blending into sheer musical magic. There's nothing created for this project that isn't charming or awe-inspiring. Some tunes may be the work of a single author, but all are blessed by the spirit of collaboration, and never has the recording process been captured on film in such an appealing manner.
Director Simon Mark-Brown and editor Kent Briggs have forged a visual equal to these wonderful sounds, mixing interviews, concerts, and candid work-a-day footage with time-lapse photography and glorious beachfront imagery (summer comes at year's end down under). What coalesces is an almost enchanted study of real people operating under the influence of nothing more than good vibrations.
Perhaps sensing that viewers won't be ready to give up those good vibes at the features' conclusion, Cinema Libre has generously included one of the 2001 "7 Worlds Collide" concerts, including special guests Tim Finn (Neil's elder brother, and founder of Split Enz) and Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation captures every bit of the magic, with all apparent grit being completely intentional (Mark Brown and Briggs have contrived to make the film look as if it were shot on multiple film stocks, though I suspect the varying grains were added post-production). The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix does the soundtrack justice, with the option of a Dolby 2.0 Stereo track for those non-theatrical environments.
Too good to be true? See and hear for yourself!
Anything but Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cinema Libre
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated