Last night I discovered a documentary about the band Joy Division. In a recent post about the post-punk chronicle Totally Wired, I mentioned the films 24-Hour Party People and Control. Both movies cover the rise and fall of Joy Division and their troubled leader Ian Curtis. While both films have their virtues, it seems the strange tale of Joy Division is best met head on, and this exhaustive doc does the trick.
(Joy Division cover the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”.)
With Joy Division, writer Jon Savage and director Grant Gee show how to do rockumentary the right way. Thorough but personal, affectionate yet lucid, Savage and Gee weave their subject into the very fabric of Manchester itself, claiming that the seminal post-punk band, Joy Division, were instrumental in the renaissance of an at-the-time spent industrial force.
Savage and Gee have done so much work with this documentary. There are numerous talking heads – including all the surviving band members, the now deceased Wilson, producer Martin Hannett, designer Peter Saville, photographer Anton Corbijn (who directed his own film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division with 2007’s Control), underground filmmaker Malcolm Whitehead, infamous agent provocateur Genesis P Orridge and, interestingly, Curtis’s girlfriend at the time Annik Honoré – as well as reel upon reel of archived footage
Watch the film at Joe Nolan’s Insomnia.