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Film Festival 09 - The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

USA/UK 2008, 100m
Director: Vikram Jayanti
Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2008; Sydney 2009

Composer, "Wall of Sound" pop producer extraordinaire and now convicted killer, the almost mythically reclusive Phil Spector agreed during his first trial to grant an unprecedented on-camera interview in his Hollywood mansion to filmmaker Vikram Jayanti. Scornful of the world's unworthiness to judge either his lifelong brilliance or his criminal guilt, jittery from medication, and recalling myriad landmark collaborations with decades of musical greats, he's riveting, an indelibly American fuckup. Jayanti's layering of unreliable testimony with Top Twenty rhapsodies and courtroom reality TV might have been dreamt up by David Lynch or Kenneth Anger. No aficionado of 60s pop should miss this film - or expect to hear those soaring two-minute epics of love's rapture in quite the same way afterwards. - BG. "The most compelling filmed account ever of his life, art and state of mind& Spector talks straight to camera, spinning stories about his groundbreaking productions for The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers, his friendship with John Lennon, and his enmity with Paul McCartney& Spector's songs - sublime in their innocence, towering in their grandeur - serve as a sort of haunting Greek chorus to the unfolding drama& Hearing these songs [performed in their entirety], and watching marvellous archive footage of The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner, provides a reminder of Spector's monumental, enduring musical accomplishments." - Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph. "An unmissable music documentary." - Andrew Male, Mojo