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Festivale Spring 1996
(Reviews Nov., 1996)
Movie poster - Hype! hype!

A true story about people telling fibs …

Commences December 5, 1996 (two weeks only)

Don't miss this film. Don't give me excuses about not liking or caring about grunge music. Just go and you'll have something to really think about.

Grunge music began in Seattle, Washington. Twin Peaks country. The opening sequence is a pure joy, Twin Peaks landscape shots intercut with the insanity of body surfing and speaker diving in the clubs of Seattle.

Throughout this documentary, grungy singers and musicians are placed in their natural habitat - the beautiful Seattle scenery, the basements of Seattle, and old car seats in the front yards of suburban Seattle.

If you lived in a city where it rains nine months of the year, what would you do? Apparently in Seattle they form bands. Lots of them. The family trees for bands is complex - they track it on computers.

Movie Still, Hype, Festivale Movie Review

This documentary shows remarkable footage, it has film of the first public performance of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, and interviews with bands, producers and promoters.

The music is contained, it is the context, but not the subject. The subject is the hype generated by grunge (or any flavour-of-the-month). In a sensation-hungry world the media, the fashion moguls, and the record industry must constantly feed the great unwashed masses with new things. So grunge offered an opportunity. Lots of column-inches in these backwoods weirdos.

The fashion magazines ran fashion spreads, redressing the grungers in would-be grunge interpretations of their normal attire. And then the department stores put these outfits on mannequins and attached extraordinary price tags. $320 for a pair of long johns, they say. According to the grungers, they wear long johns because it's cold in Seattle - it isn't a statement about the world - it is a simpler statement "I want not to freeze my butt off."

Movie still, Hype!, Festivale movie review

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After a while the voracious appetite of the media and the outside world spawned a particular brand of rebellion, a sort of "let's give them what they want", or maybe "let them eat bullshit".

And eat it up they did. A journalist from the New York Times rang Sub Pop (a record company based in Seattle) and asked Megan Jasper what the grunge lingo was. Tired of being asked who she knew and what they did together, she replied, give me a list and I'll tell you the grunge term for it. And then she made up a lexicon from whole cloth. The same cloth they used for the Emperor's new clothes presumably. The New York Times printed it.

I have already added this film to my list of 'must haves'. It warrants more than one look. It is an important examination of a cultural phenomenon - the need for sensation in the late 20th century. For anyone with an interest in popular culture, fashion, the way the media manipulates itself, or just how to run a hoax with a couple of hundred of your best friends - this is a must-see film.

buyreel.jpg - 5045 Bytes by Ali Kayn (November, 1996)

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Just the facts:

Story Editor:
Brian Levy
Directed by: Doug Pray
Produced by: Steven Helvey
Edited: Doug Pray, Joan Zapata, Earl Ghaffari
Director of Photography: Robert Bennet

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