Joy Division's tragic frontman rises again at Cannes

18th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - A searing biopic about the doomed lead singer of beloved British rock band Joy Division premiered in Cannes on the eve of the 27th anniversary of his suicide Friday.

CANNES, France, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - A searing biopic about the doomed lead singer of beloved British rock band Joy Division premiered in Cannes on the eve of the 27th anniversary of his suicide Friday.

"Control" by Dutch rock photographer Anton Corbijn tells the story of Ian Curtis, who cut his life short in 1980 while the band behind hits like "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was moving to the top.

Based on a book by Curtis' widow Deborah, the film revives the moody and magnetic frontman, played by Sam Riley of "24 Hour Party People," Michael Winterbottom's much lighter take on the legendary Manchester scene.

Corbijn, who has also directed rock videos for bands such as Depeche Mode and Nirvana, said he was drawn to the project because Joy Division's "industrial" sound, which rose from punk's still-hot ashes, literally changed his life.

"When 'Unknown Pleasures' (the Joy Division album) came out, I thought: 'This is so good that I have to go there and be where that music comes from,'" he told AFP in an interview.

"Every time I went to England, I found a quality in the people and in the photographs I took of these people that I couldn't have in Holland."

He said the Netherlands' wealth and generous welfare state meant that music was seen as more of a hobby than in England, which became a second home.

"It is different if you live in a very poor country and England was a very poor country, it was shocking in my life in the 70s," he said.

Corbijn, 51, said Curtis had lived for the stage at a time when his marriage to Deborah, played by Samantha Morton ("Minority Report"), ran into trouble.

"He was a quite normal guy in a sense, but with incredible gifts for poetry, a guy who showed very little of his inner demons apart from when he was on stage making music," he said.

"When he was on stage he became another person, he had a movement that's unlike anybody else."

Wracked with guilt and confused over an obsessive affair with a Belgian fan (played by German actress Alexandra Maria Lara), Curtis was also under massive pressure to break into the American market with an imminent US tour.

"Control" shows Curtis slip away at the tender age of 23, hanging himself just weeks before the darkly romantic "Love Will Tear Us Apart" became a radio hit.

Corbijn, who has also worked with bands such as U2, creating their iconic "Joshua Tree" album cover, said he aimed with his film -- shot entirely in black and white -- to capture the creative process.

"My pictures were never about the orgasm on stage, it's about the making, the creating of the song, the difficulties in life that prepare you to do something," he said.

"For me, that's where art comes from and I wanted to capture it. That was natural for me to do it this way. The movie is emotional, even for me when I watched it the first times."

He said that Joy Division's influence -- which carried on with successor band New Order -- could still be felt in the rock world.

"It has to do with the fact that Joy Division was never sort of a fashionable band at the time, their music stands through all those decades, because it's quite simple, honest, very beautiful and haunting," he said.

"It resonates still today, also what he sings about. If things are very personal, they always resonate. That's the great thing in Joy Division."


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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