Sunday, November 18, 2007

The movie Control

Gosh, if you wake up on a sunny day and decide it is time to get depressed, you definitely will be after seeing Control, the biopic on Ian Curtis based on the book by his widow Deborah Curtis called Touching From a Distance.

There's a lot of information in this podcast interview with the actor who plays Ian, Sam Riley. He embodies this character extremely well, it is not just mimicing because any actor can train themselves to mimic someone well. The actors as a band perform the music for real, a choice I prefer, and they sound fantastic! Most importantly, Sam Riley plays Ian as a real person. I think this helps take the audience immediately to a level that does not glamorize this singer nor his life. Anton Corbijn films the movie in, as he says in this interview, black and white which is appropriate since most of the photos I've always seen of Joy Division are in black and white footage. I do not care much for the video he made of the song "Atmosphere" back when MTV showed music videos, so I was a little concerned that this could try to commercialize the band, but it doesn't. I'm also so glad that Corbijn uses the guy known as JCC (John Cooper Clarke) from the punk scene of the 1970s. I hadn't heard of him and I read his credit in the movie's credits. It's pure genius spoken word from a time that no spoken word was known of at all. You can hear the entire piece on the movie's official site by choosing the soundtrack and scrolling to the track "Evidently Chickentown." The Control version is without the backing music, unlike the "Sopranos" version.

I thought it was best to know no background about the making of the film before seeing it, however in the movie as I watched the characters move through Ian Curtis's hometown of Macclesfield, I really believed that the director chose to use the actual home of and workplace of Ian Curtis. I'm not sure, however, if the parents' home is the actual home. I was pleasantly assured after hearing the interview and another interview with Corbijn that, indeed, these locations were authentic.

I had a very dear friend of mine visit Macclesfield back in the '90s and he went to the boyhood home and stood outside. The residents looked at him from the window and even came out to talk to him, but he refused to go into their house. He went to the place where a stone was laid in Ian's honor. He researched it all in the Macclesfield library after having taken the earliest train out to the town from Manchester, I think. This friend of mine worshiped Ian and much of Joy Division and New Order's music to the point where he would not just randomly agree to watch a bootleg video of the band I just had lying around. It's all so sacred in his mind. He idolized Ian to the point of becoming fixated on suicide, had talked about it even as a teenager, and one day he did take his own life, unfortunately. He talked of the pain he felt in headaches he was experiencing and completely did not agree that the drugs worked. He didn't like the impurity of putting drug chemicals into a drug-free body... of having to take drugs to help him cope and I think he got this idea mostly from the knowledge of the side effects Ian experienced. Migraines can be kept from occurring quite successfully with drugs these days.

This friend was also mentally delusional, experiencing depression while he projected so much of his interpretation of how he wanted things to turn out directly onto people, thereby resulting in him being upset when he learned that their intentions did not match his deluded image of them.

I feel terrible that the loved ones close to Ian Curtis were not depicted much afterwards, long enough to express the toll it takes on a person's life in the years that follow a suicide because it is quite a process for the family and friends of suicide victims to process this sudden loss.

You can also read about what the daughter is doing while still living in Macclesfield.