Posted Oct 12 2019
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LFF 2019 Preview - Western Stars

Dir: Thom Zimmy & Bruce Springsteen

Starring Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Some Fab Musicians

Bruce Springsteen’s film – the first he has ever directed in part – could be seen as a simple promotional tool for his latest, highly acclaimed and high selling album, of the same title. Thankfully, it is much more than that.

Springsteen spent several years recording his 19th album, Western Stars, intended in part as a homage to, and extension of, the lush pop sound of the late 1960s – at one point in this film he tellingly drops Jimmy Webb’s name. Rather than touring the record, he chose to stage a concert in his own cathedral-like barn – a beautiful setting – playing the album in full with a group of musicians that included her indoors Patti Scialfa, and a 30 piece orchestra. And whilst it is a bravura performance that both fully defines and enhances the album and its songs as a whole, it is the interlinking sequences that give the movie a sense of place and understanding.  

There is the odd moment where Bruce’s voice overs or talks to camera may border on the portentous, but his remarkable abilities as a story teller come through and bring clarity to all the songs he plays. You find yourself as captivated by his words as you do by this gorgeous collection of songs, made more beautiful by the orchestral arrangements that embellish them. All in a barn. And then he finishes on Rhinestone Cowboy for Christsakes.  

“Once I was shot by John Wayne, yeah, it was towards the end
That one scene's bought me a thousand drinks” – damn, but that man can write!

Perfection!

 

Western Stars plays the LFF on 11, 12 & 13 October. For more info go to https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/

 

 

 

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