Ostensibly about the ultra-obscure New York art-punk scene of 1977-82, this cleverly edited film is really a meditation on originality and nostalgia.
The first half celebrates the abrasive No Wave pioneers who prized newness above all else - especially tunes. Then the knives come out as old bands disparage new bands, new bands disparage each other, and the viewer wonders whether you can be artistically cutting-edge without being a pompous prick. For a good long while, the answer going around in your head is a resounding 'no'. Interestingly, it's not until the the engaging, self-aware Yeah Yeah Yeahs appear, who are roundly mocked for being too successful, are virtually the only interviewees with whom you could imagine spending more than five minutes, that the urge to punch all of the other wankers present, subsides. But then those same wankers do have some entertainment value.
Revealing stuff, although perhaps not in the way the director intended.
Reviewed by Dorian Lynskey