Music Matters

Sometimes it’s best not to get involved


Friday, April 17 – Thursday, April 23, 2020

Upon the occasion of our weekend virtual run of the OTHER MUSIC documentary, we take an opportunity to look back at some of the other great music films that have premiered at The Brattle over the years. This program also serves as a potent reminder of the power of music and why we should all do our best to support not just shuttered movie theaters but also live music venues and touring musicians during this unprecedented shutdown. From ecstatic concert movies, to fiction films filled with songs, to deep-diving documentaries, take a musical journey with us this week!

Friday, April 17


Streaming on AmazonPrime and Hulu; for free on Tubi; for rent elsewhere

2012 • dir Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern w/James Murphy, Chuck Klosterman, Keith Wood • 105 min

Alongside the record store Other Music, the band LCD Soundsystem and their record label, DFA, were among the most influential voices in the New York City music scene of the 2000s. That is until LCD frontman James Murphy made the decision to disband the group at the top of their fame and staged an ambitious final concert on April 2, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is simultaneously a document of a once-in-a-lifetime performance and an intimate portrait of Murphy as he navigates both the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.

Watch Trailer
Brattle Premiere, Sept 2012

Saturday, April 18 • Double Feature


Streaming for free on Tubi; for rent elsewhere

2013 • dir Lukas Moodysson w/Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Love LeMoyne • 102 min

While not a Brattle premiere per se, this was on our list of the best films released in 2014 and we featured it prominently in our programs at the time. This fantastic film directed by Lukas Moodysson and adapted from his wife’s graphic novel, relates the story of two teenage punk rock girls who recruit a shy classical guitarist to join their nascent band in 1980s Sweden. An exuberant and joyus burst of anarchic energy, WE ARE THE BEST! truly carries the spirit of punk rock.

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Not currently streaming but available on Youtube in a lo-res English subtitled version and so totally worth it

2005 • dir Nobuhiro Yamashita w/Doona Bae, Aki Maeda, Yû Kashii, Shiori Sekine • 114 min

Another joyous, punk-infused film about an all-girl band, LINDA LINDA LINDA is full of the dangerously catchy music of The Blue Hearts – the “Japanese Ramones.” When a group of schoolgirls find themselves without a singer and guitarist just before their performance at the high school cultural festival, they recruit the first girl they see – Korean exchange student Son (Doona Bae). With only three days to learn a new set of songs, the quartet spends sleepless nights practicing and bonding as friends but will their collective exhaustion cause them to miss their big debut?

Watch Trailer
Brattle Premiere, Nov 2007

Sunday, April 19


Streaming on AmazonPrime; for free on Tubi and for free w/ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

2014 • dir Iaian Forsyth, Jane Pollard w/Nick Cave, Susie Bick, Warren Ellis • 97 min

20,000 DAYS ON EARTH is an inventive, lyrical ode to creativity and an intimate examination of the artistic process of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave. Directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard fuse drama and documentary for this remarkable film, weaving a staged day in Cave’s life with observations of his creative process. A category-defying film that pushes the music documentary into new territory.

Watch Trailer
Brattle Premiere, Sept 2014

Monday, April 20


Streaming on AmazonPrime; for rent elsewhere

2013 • dir Ethan Coen, Joel Coen w/Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman • 104 min

The Brattle has hosted some memorable premiere screenings over the years and we were honored to host a special advance showing of this Coen Brothers gem – with charming star Oscar Isaac in person no less – back in 2013. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS tells a sort of shaggy-dog story about a struggling 1960s Greenwich Village folk singer as he navigates the path that leads to fame or oblivion.

“The film doesn’t really have a plot. That concerned us at one point; that’s why we threw the cat in.” – Joel Coen

Watch Trailer
Streaming on AmazonPrime; for rent elsewhere

Tuesday, April 21


Streaming for free on Tubi and for free w/ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

1988 • dir Bruce Weber w/Chet Baker, Carol Baker, Vera Baker • 120 min

This beautiful and poignant documentary is actually a double-premiere for the Brattle – we hosted the original run back in 1989 and a 2008 restoration. A gorgeous young trumpet player with a honeyed voice, Chet Baker was the epitome of smooth West Coast jazz in the 1950s. By the late ‘80s, however, heroin and hard times had left Baker a shadow of his former self – though he still retained his jazz chops. Renowned photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber juxtaposes these two extremes over the course of this film which premiered shortly after Baker’s accidental death in 1988.

Watch Trailer
Brattle Premiere, June 1989 & Jan 2008

Wednesday, April 22 • Double Feature


Streaming for free on Tubi; for rent elsewhere

2014 • dir John Pirozzi w/Norodom Sirivudh, Norodom Sihanouk, Sisowath Kossamak • 105 min

This remarkable film – part music documentary and part history lesson – traces and rediscovers the lost rock’n’roll records of 1960s Cambodia. During the Vietnam War, an increased American presence helped to create a distinctly Cambodian sound that mixed Western pop music with Eastern traditional sounds but, with the rise of the Khmer Rouge, the musicians, promoters, and fans in the scene were systematically targeted and wiped out by the oppressive regime. Director John Pirozzi spent a decade tracking down the surviving artists and songs that defined the sound of a long-suppressed corner of rock history and the resulting documentary is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

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Brattle Premiere, July 2015


Streaming for free on Tubi and for free w/ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

2013 • dir Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett w/Bobby Hackney, David Hackney, Dannis Hackney • 98 min

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Three teenage African-American brothers in 1971 Detroit formed a band, played a few local gigs, and even pressed a single. But this was during the reign of Motown, and these guys were punk before punk even existed. They never had a chance… Until decades later, that is, when their demo tape was rediscovered by a whole new generation of music fans. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A BAND CALLED DEATH chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened when the band finally received their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers.

Watch Trailer
Brattle Premiere, July 2013

Thursday, April 23


Streaming on AmazonPrime; for rent elsewhere

1978 • dir Martin Scorcese w/Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young • 117 min

Okay, this is a cheat, the Brattle never premiered THE LAST WALTZ in any way but we wanted to end this program on a high note – and there ain’t much higher than one of the greatest concert films of all time. THE LAST WALTZ features not only legendary rock’n’rollers The Band but also sees them collaborating with some of the greatest performers of their generation – including the Staple Singers who back them on a definitive version of their classic song, “The Weight.”

Watch Trailer






Watch Trailer

Writing Credits:

NH – Ned Hinkle
AD – Alissa Darsa
KB – Kim Baillargeon
RL – Rachel Lanza