Kevin Winter, Getty Images After some confusion, it appears that a Mastodon song…
- Posted on Jun 18th 2008 5:30PM by Kim Davis
Released on DVD yesterday, critically acclaimed director Grant Gee's 'Joy Division' is a beautifully rendered, meticulous study of not only of the band and its ill-fated frontman Ian Curtis, but also of his bandmates -- Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris -- who all act as scathingly insightful, at times very moving, talking heads in the film.
Gee himself said at the film's premiere back in February of this year that he was "surprised at how candid and forthcoming" each of the former members of Manchester's most beloved band were. "It was as if they were remembering the story for the first time" he said -- an extraordinary quality for a film that covers a a heavy topic already addressed in several other films, including 2002's '24 Hour Party People,' not to mention Anton Corbijn's 'Control,' released shortly before Gee's in 2007.
Corbijn's 'Control,' which took most of its cues from Curtis' wife, Deborah Curtis and her book 'Touching From a Distance,' was a vastly different film, but it had its affects on Gee's documentary-making process. Curtis' mistress, Annik Honore, who was painted as such in Corbijn's film, provides powerful, unapologetic commentary in Gee's version. But it took quite a bit of convincing for her participate in the project. "She had just finished with the experience that was 'Control,'" Gee said. "I don't think she could take it." Interestingly, neither could Curtis' daughter Natalie, who, according to Gee, showed up on set a few times, but remained silent.
But 'Joy Division,' rich with impossibly intricate musical and visual layers, wasn't all doom and gloom. At one point, Peter Hook (or "Hooky" as he's affectionately known) provided comic relief, admitting that he was more than a little difficult to work with. "I'll be the first one to admit it," he scuffs. And Peter Saville, who designed Joy Division's striking, now iconic album covers, admits that he'd "never heard it" before designing the eerily appropriate cover for 'Unknown Pleasures,' which resembles heart graphs used in diagnosing epilepsy -- which Curtis suffered from up until his death in 1980.