Last night I watched a preview copy of a forthcoming documentary about no-man which director Richard Smith had very kindly sent me.
Smith has nailed that deep centre on which no-man's music rests: melancholy, loss, possibility, hope. None of these topics are easy to convey without coming over as precious or obvious but the measured narrative which the documentary constructs really brings these elements out with sensitivity and respect for the subject matter.
Resisting the temptation to cover the screen in "arty" shots, jump cuts and all the other tosh one sees in so many documentaries these days also contributed to reasons why this was so watchable.
So often the director’s own artistic vision takes precedence over the subject matter and get in the way (don't get me started about Alan Yentob!!!). What I like about what Richard Smith has done is to relate the tale slowly and allow the participants ian unmediated space in which to talk and take time to express themselves and make their point.
It's more like a discussion rather than a trussed-up, trimmed series of soundbites.
Being a relative newcomer to no-man, it was fascinating getting the backstory on the early days with Ben Coleman, battle of the band competitions, the tensions which caused Bowness and Wilson to go it alone as a duo, and their “odd couple” working methods.
The bottom line is it made me want to play the albums and immerse myself in that world they painstakingly create.
Schoolyard Ghosts review
All The Blue Changes review