Filmmaker and photographer Jem Cohen was friendly with band members of Fugazi, and early on began documenting the group’s performances. Instrument was compiled from ten years’ worth of footage of Fugazi on and off stage.
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Rather than taking a linear and conservative approach to making a documentary, Fugazi worked with Cohen to craft something that works as a testament to both their art and their ethos. The live performance pieces are compelling and the instrumental video interludes are evocative. It feels like they are mindful of everything and take everything seriously. Not all the songs work for me, but they're doing their thing.
Viewed with Guy in attendance, a 'blow-up' cinema screen, projected from laptop. The DIY ethos or crass cash-in? While Cohen's 16mm visions might be debased Picciotto is obviously the real-deal, enlivening a Q&A that endured well past my point of comfort. I'd seen Instrument before and it commands full respect, the technique as fearless and unwieldy as the band, trusting you with sincerity and experimentation.
Remarkable documentary on one of the most seminal, if not THE most seminal, independent rock bands ever. Lyrical, poetic imagery of Fugazi playing live, haunted city streets, studio sessions, archival footage, tour stops, and interviews with fans. A CANNOT miss piece of filmmaking. No other music documentary is like this.