Low In Europe (Music Documentary)
Sound: C+ Extras: C Main Program: C+
The “Low” in this case is not the classic David Bowie
album, but a Rock trio from Duluth, Minnesota featuring Mimi Parker, Zak Sally
and Alan Sparhawk. They have an
acoustic Rock that is somewhat Punk influenced and likes the warped and
abstract tones of sound. Sebastian
Schrade’s Low In Europe (2003) captures the band on tour as they show
how standard and uneventful (save their concerts) their tour is. No wild parties, no crazy incidents, no
controversies, until they come across an anti-Bush protest against going into
That still does not interrupt the music for long. This is “proudly filmed in super video” – a
contradiction in itself (though there is obviously pride in the work itself)
and if so, why is this only under 50 minutes?
The band is interesting, had something to say and show, has talent and
it is a shame more intriguing questions (and even more of Europe) was not shown
in the process. After all, video is
much cheaper to shoot than film, so why the short length. For what you do get here, all is worth a
look, but so much more could have occurred.
Next time, Schrade will hopefully go further in capturing his subject.
The 1.33 X 1 image is shot in that video he was bragging
about, which is monochrome and soft throughout. I guess that is also the idea and style, but it has its
limits. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is
not bad, but has no surrounds. At least
the music is clear enough and is good music.
The only extra on the DVD is a 16 minutes collage of more footage
(dubbed “Super 8”, but more likely Digital 8mm tape) set to audio from a radio
performance. Though not as loaded as
the usual Plexifilm offering, Low In Europe is a worthy entry in their
catalog and one worth a look just because the band is so interesting and good
at what they do.
- Nicholas Sheffo