Wednesday, July 16, 2008

C*cksucker Blues

In 1972 Robert Frank was commissioned by the Rolling Stones to make a documentary film of their United States tour that year. He traveled with the band, shooting footage himself as well as providing cameras for band members and others in their entourage to use. The final piece is a completely unexpected and haunting film that explores the darker sides of the 'Stones' celebrity; dislocation, loneliness, drug use and life on the road. It is almost painful to watch as Frank punctures the cult of celebrity around the band with long cinema verite scenes of the mundane moments between shows. Band members shoot up, roadies and groupies nod off in the background--is that Allan Ginsberg in the next room?--a young woman discusses her love of acid, the band members go on outings, order food, discuss drugs and fame. Frank did not blunt the impact of the film then, and the images are even more unexpected now in an age of carefully managed celebrity public relations.

When the members of the 'Stones saw the final cut, titled "C*cksucker Blues" after a never released song of the same name written by Mick Jagger, they immediately sued to suppress its release. As a result of the final legal ruling, the film can be shown in public only if the director, Frank, is present. We are in summer blockbuster season and if you are getting tired of the public relations circus and manicured public appearances, this is the antidote. There are unofficial versions of it in underground circulation, and some pieces of it can be seen here:

Part 1
Drug Fallout
The Acid Girl Interview
Mick & Bianca

1 comment:

suttonhoo said...

wow -- thanks for this -- looking forward to the viewing.