Aretha Franklin, PJ Harvey and Leonard Cohen in Our Music Documentary Section!


Music is for the most pat an essential part of every film work, but there are those in which music is the key focus; the Musical Globe section has for years now been offering insight into the work of renowned music artists from a different point of view. This year at ZagrebDox, taking place from 15 to 22 March at CineStar Zagreb – Branimir Mingle Mall, audience will get a chance for a sneak peek into the lives and work of influential names like Aretha Franklin, Leonard Cohen, PJ Harvey, as well as the young Norwegian pop sensation, singer songwriter Aurora, as well as the iconic American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Amazing Grace is an exclusive insight into the so far unpublished recording of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 concert, when she was at the height of her career. It took almost 40 years to release the material and the composer and producer Alan Elliott made a documentary film out of it. The concert was recorded at the missionary Baptist church in Los Angeles, where Franklin, at the age of 29, sag her Amazing Grace album; the concert was recorded by none other than Sydney Pollack. The title in the meantime became her bestselling album ever and the most successful gospel album of all times, but due to issues with sound synchronisation, Pollack never published the recording. Legal controversies ensued, Franklin opposed the release, and after her death this direct film recording, offering an intense musical experience, nevertheless found its way to the audience.

In A Dog Called Money director Seamus Murphy films the making-of process of British musician PJ Harvey’s ninth album. The idea for this album, released in 2016 under the title The Hop Six Demolition Project, came about when Harvey agreed to accompany Murphy, her friend and associate, the award-winning photo journalist and filmmaker, on a trip to war and poverty stricken parts of Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as poor Washington DC neighbourhoods. This unconventional documentary charts their journey and illustrates how music can convey political messages and human values and foster a sense of community. Elliptical and intimate, the film is a fascinating portrayal of a peculiar creative process and offers insight into the creativity of a charismatic music icon.

The inspiring but tragic love story between the iconic musician Leonard Cohen and his muse, the Norwegian Marianne Ihlen, is the focus of the film Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love by the acclaimed director Nick Broomfield. The documentary records the history of their relationship, from meeting on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where they both lives in a bohemian artistic community, to their death in July and November 2016. British director Nick Broomfield, who met Marianne on Hydra in 1968, reconstructs the love story between the artist and his muse through personal archive materials, interviews and poetic voice over recordings of Cohen and Ihlen. Melancholy, intimate and somewhat unreal, this film speaks about fame and its dark side, about sexual freedom of the 1960s, and about immortal love.

Once Aurora is a Norwegian documentary debut by Benjamin Langeland and Stian Servoss about the pop sensation from a rural Norwegian town. Singer songwriter Aurora Aksne was discovered at the age of 16, when her intense music journey was launched. The film covers a period of two years in her life, Aksne’s world tour with her debut album and the making of her second album. After 200 concerts, halfway through her tour, at the age of 20, Aurora wonders if this is what she really wants in life and, if not, is there a plan B at all? Filmed intimately and edited fragmentarily and dynamically, the film reflects Aurora’s chaotic life and internal struggles.

The documentary Cunningham by Alla Kovgan portrays the artistic evolution of the legendary American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham over three decades of his career, from 1944 to 1972. This period of Cunningham’s life was filled with risks and discoveries: from the early years in post-war New York City, to his establishment as one of the most important choreographic visionaries in the history of contemporary dance. Using 3D technology, this work intertwines fragments of Cunningham’s life and creative philosophy, fashioning an intuitive cinematic journey through innovative artistic work of one of the crucial 20th century artists.