Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Kick-start Disney's Silver Age with a classic - 'Cinderella'! Listen now as Daniel chats with theatremakers Katrina Cornwall & Morgan Rose.x
review, Swans: Where Does a Body End?, Swans:, Where, Does, a, Body, End?, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Michael Gira, Jarboe, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Amanda Palmer, Devendra Banhart, Blixa Bargeld, J.g. Thirlwell, Jehnny Beth, Jim Sclavunos, Marco Porsia, Documentary

SWANS: WHERE DOES A BODY END?

★★★★

AN EXHAUSTIVE LOOK AT AN EXHAUSTING BAND

MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
11th July 2020

After years of hearing about the experimental rock band Swans from a few friends, I finally decided to give them a shot.

I downloaded 'To Be Kind' and listened to it while I went shopping. It's a great album for walking around Woolworths to, because it makes you feel like you're on some kind of sinister secret mission instead of looking for those Woolies-brand chocolate chip cookies. Plus, you stop paying attention to the album for a few minutes while you're trying to decide between all these different kinds of toilet paper that they have nowadays, you don't miss anything because when you come back to it... Swans are still playing the same part they were playing before you zoned out. Perhaps the best way to approach the band is to set aside two hours, smoke a joint, and melt into the music.

Marco Porsia's documentary 'Swans: Where Does a Body End?' features interviews with key figures in the band (like Michael Gira, Jonathan Kane and Thor Harris), well as Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, Savage's Jehnny Beth, Amanda Palmer, Kid Kongo, Ben Frost, Devendra Banhardt, JG Thirlwell, and many more of Swans' contemporaries and fans. Porsia, a cinematographer who immersed himself into the inner circle of Swans for five years, filmed rehearsals, songwriting sessions, the grind of life on the road, petty squabbles and transcendent performances.

'SWANS: WHERE DOES A BODY END?' TRAILER

The film begins with the first, early-80s incarnation of Swans. The band's early reputation was fearsome, due to the punishing volume of their live shows and nihilistic, misanthropic lyrics. They were a noise ensemble that terrorised New York's post-No Wave scene, and made Sonic Youth sound like bratty siblings by comparison - singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira layered album upon album, each a strata of sediment building upon - and subtly changing - what came before. A lot of doom and sludge bands (Tool, Mudhoney, etc.) have cited Swans as an influence, as in their early period they took their noise industrial No Wave mayhem to tempos never done before. In the late 80s, great holes started appearing in Swans' sonic monolith, hollows that Gira filled with acoustic instrumentation, female vocals (courtesy of perennial member Jarboe, also interviewed here), and the bleakest strains of gospel, folk, and blues (Howlin' Wolf is singled out for mention).

As well as his own collection of live Swans material filmed since their reunion in 2010, Porsia was granted access to an extensive collection of live tapes and never before seen home videos from their early years.

On stage the stoic, meditative Gira performs as a sort of mad conductor, gyrating and flailing with what's to be perceived as the primal, cathartic release of Swans' music. Omniscient crescendos pile one atop the other as Gira's possessed body movements often work independently of a track's overall thrum.

For fans of the band, this documentary is primo stuff, especially the huge amount of archival footage, which includes some rare shots of Gira performing with his early post-punk band, Circus Mort; Swans recording during The Glowing Man sessions; and the rehearsals of The Knot. As well as his own collection of live Swans material filmed since their reunion in 2010, Porsia was granted access to an extensive collection of live tapes and never-before-seen home videos from their early years.

A revealing profile of frontman Michael Gira and an honest and exhaustive look at the band, Marco Porsia's 'Swans: Where Does a Body End?' does the seemingly impossible by defining a musical collective that has been in a constant state of metamorphosis and reinvention ever since it was created.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 2h 1m
CAST: Michael Gira
Jarboe
Thurston Moore
Lee Ranaldo
Amanda Palmer
Devendra Banhart
Blixa Bargeld
J.g. Thirlwell
Jehnny Beth
Jim Sclavunos
DIRECTOR: Marco Porsia
PRODUCERS: Michael Wabro
Simon Mattock
Nick Rosendorf
SCORE: Swans
www.wheredoesabodyend.com
wheredoesabodyend
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Melbourne Documentary Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Rams - Baaa-ck off
TRENDINGRAMSBaaa-ck off
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Bill: The Complete Series 5 & 6 - Rivalries come to a head in an explosive fashion
TRENDINGWIN THE BILL: THE COMPLETE SERIES 5 & 6Rivalries come to a head in an explosive fashion
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Baby Done - Pregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
TRENDINGBABY DONEPregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
Baby Done - Pregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
TRENDINGBABY DONEPregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
TRENDINGNYMPHOMANIACLars, sex and cinema
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Happy Halloween - The best horror films of 2020
TRENDINGHAPPY HALLOWEENThe best horror films of 2020
The Witches - 30 years on, it's still as delightfully frightening as ever
TRENDINGTHE WITCHES30 years on, it's still as delightfully frightening as ever
Red Pill, Blue Pill - 10 films influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
TRENDINGRED PILL, BLUE PILL10 films influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us