THE LO DOWN: New Feist Documentary – Not About Feist
Ok, it’s not completely about Feist.
Look at What The Light Did Now, on DVD December 7, certainly features the artist making 2007’s multiple Grammy-nominated sensation The Reminder, but if you’re expecting an inside look into the Canadian songstress’ personal life â€“ a-la-Madonna ’90s joyride Truth Or Dare â€“ you’re in for a surprise. No Warren Beatty appearances in this ditty, but rather an intimate adventure into art, community, and collaboration (with a side of shadow puppets and a dash of tequila).
With the opening credits in paper cutouts and shadow, we are immediately, as the title suggests, looking at what light can do â€“ what it reveals, what it hides, how truly uncomfortable Leslie Feist is in it, both literally and otherwise. This experimental style dominates as we follow Feist and her collaborators through creating the music, tour, and videos for The Reminder. Director Anthony Seck likes showing Feist in her quieter moments, but the stars of this film feel more like those whom Feist calls her “amplifiers” â€“ the people on her team working to further the scope of her music into every artistic medium. Thus the communal energy of the entire film, which hinges on more than the singular folk artist’s rise to fame and the how-to’s of making an album that received as much critical and pop acclaim as it did indie cred. In her words, “The Reminder is a function of a puzzle. It’s exciting to bring it to life with people.”
Enter thoughtful interviews with puppeteer Clea Minaker, whose live shadow puppetry and video projections created the visual landscape of The Reminder tour; and Oakland artist Simone Rubi, whose album art we remember as well as the songs themselves; and Berkeley born video director Patrick Daughters trying to get Feist to leap from the window for “Mushaboom,” and photographer Mary Rozzi, quietly agrees that yes, Feist hates taking photos. The film is indeed a puzzle of powerful artists, united by Feist’s music, and a hungry curiosity to see what exactly light â€“ and music, and film, and photography, and video, and puppets â€“ can do together.
In short, this film is for any Feist fan, and for every artist interested in the delicate dance of collaboration. I was lucky enough to see the screening sitting behind Feist herself, whose shyness was palpable as the film played. During the Q&A she discussed an affinity for elevating the mundane and simplifying the extraordinary. “I love that in the dream world, water can mean whatever your gut tells you it means. I’d prefer to live mostly in that world,” she said. Word, Feist. Just be sure to take us with you.
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