Concert film

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A concert film is a film that depicts musical events . A concert film can have a predominantly documentary character, such as Michael Wadleigh's film about the Woodstock Festival , or, through the active staging of the concert situation, it can be a media extension of the artistic performance, such as Jonathan Demme's Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense . The most successful concert film to date is Michael Jackson's This Is It , which shows the rehearsals of the planned tour This Is It by the musician Michael Jackson , which did not take place because he died three weeks before the start of the concert.


The close connection between the popular music industry and film established itself in the 1960s, when musicians like Elvis Presley and The Beatles made successful appearances in films. In order to keep up with youth culture, the film industry looked for ways to implement successfully tested concepts such as the combination of film images and rock music in Easy Rider (1969) for the mass market and to create synergies between the cinema and the record market.

The 1971 concert film Gimme Shelter by David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin , which documented the end of the hippie movement in many ways, caused a sensation : During the Rolling Stones' Altamont concert, an African-American was filmed in front of the musicians Hells Angels used as a steward stabbed to death after drawing a gun. Even Martin Scorsese's The Band (1978) is a farewell to the golden years of rock music and presents the farewell concert of The Band in 1976 with musical guests such as Bob Dylan , Van Morrison and Neil Young .

After the highly artificially staged concert films of the 1980s such as Stop Making Sense , (1984), Home of the Brave (by and with Laurie Anderson , 1985), Prince - Sign O 'the Times (by Prince , 1987) or Big Time (by Chris Blum with Tom Waits , 1988) brought the filmmakers' authoritative view of the filmed subject to the fore. So portrayed Jim Jarmusch in Year of the Horse (1997) the musician Neil Young and Wim Wenders in Buena Vista Social Club (1999), the Cuban musician very subjective and committed to their work context.

The possibilities of the DVD medium create new mechanisms of action for the concert film in the early 21st century: The unity of time and space in the concert film opens up possibilities for the recipient to interactively control film consumption, for example by selecting different camera angles.

Motifs and stagings

Wadleigh's Woodstock film (1970) and Monterey Pop ( DA Pennebaker and Richard Leacock , 1967/1968) about the Monterey Pop Festival are examples of concert films that were made mainly from a documentary perspective. While Wadleigh paid great attention to the innumerable details of the concert organization and the audience reactions and presented the visual abundance via split screen , Pennebaker and Leacock used Direct Cinema to precisely record the atmosphere among the concert goers, which was shaped by the spirit of the hippie movement.

Scorsese made a first attempt to give the genre of rock concert film its own aesthetic character in The Band (1978). He concentrated on the work of the musicians and expressed their individuality through staging differences in their performance presentation. Jonathan Demmes Stop Making Sense consistently continues this path to the self-staging of the musicians and combines the musical performance with stage structures and images, costumes, lighting and cinematic means to create a total work of art. The concert film becomes a building block in an intermedia strategy to integrate arts such as painting, fashion, photography, literature and theater into one's own musical context.