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THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY of Phil spector

http://vixpixfilms.com/
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Directed by Vikram Jayanti
USA/UK, 2008, 102 min

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REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

"Creepily riveting"
-Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Prepare to be dazzled."
-David Fear, Time Out NY  

See all reviews >

 

SYNOPSIS

Legendary pop music genius, record producer Phil Spector created the “wall of sound” behind some of the greatest hits of the ’60s: Be My Baby, He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, to name just a few. Today he is imprisoned serving 19 years to- life for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson. During his first trial (a hung jury), Spector gives a
rare freewheeling interview to Vikram Jayanti, filmed at his castle, seated before the white piano which he bought with John Lennon, for Imagine. He lucidly holds forth on his life and work: his father’s suicide when he was a child; the process through which he achieved his distinctive sound; his friendship with Lennon; and his case that (despite Paul McCartney’s position), he salvaged the Beatles’ album, Let It Be. Then there is Spector’s curious enmity toward Tony Bennett and
Buddy Holly (“he got a postage stamp even though he was only in rock ’n’ roll three years”), and a grandiosity that has him likening himself to Bach, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo. And, yes, there is an endless parade of hairstyles and flamboyant outfits.

–Courtesy of Film Forum, NY

 

Reviews


“The creator of rock’s fabled ‘Wall of Sound,’ the Svengali of the ‘60s girl groups and the producer of the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’… a man who for 50 years has avoided the news media like the plague.”

John Anderson, The New York Times

“The great songwriter and record producer, the sonic auteur of the shoop-shoop era… This documentary by Vikram Jayanti has the great virtue of delving deeply into Spector’s artistic legacy, through well-chosen video and sound clips, incisive and analytical supertitles by Spector’s biographer Mick Brown, and, most of all by Spector’s own recollections… (discussing) his classic work in illuminating detail.
Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Lives up to its grandiose title. A scoop. A Top 40 opera. Spector’s discourse and observations…are interwoven with his greatest hits, often played in their glorious entirety. Spector didn’t invent adolescent emo, but he dignified it with Wagnerian pow.”

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“Illuminating and entertaining. It’s mesmerizing.”
New York magazine

“Creepily riveting! A rock ‘n’ roll Napoleon in exile, caught in a time warp.”
-Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“A landmark documentary. (It’s) most fascinating when Spector… talks about his years as a record producer.’”
- V.A. Musetto, New York Post

“Fascinating, intimate portrait. Essential viewing for any pop-music fan and any student of celebrity pathology. ”
-Kevin Lally, The Hollywood Reporter

“An eloquent raconteur. The interview is so juicy.”
- Steve Dollar, Wall St. Journal

“At its most intense moments, the movie creates a gripping harmony of sound and images. A rise-and-fall tale fitting of one of the greatest producers of all time. “
- Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone
 

“If you love pop music, you must see this movie! Riveting. Electrifying, one-of-a-kind, crime-meets-tragedy documentary. Like Napoleon with borderline personality disorder. Mesmerizing to behold. He’s got terrific stories. When Scorsese chose Be My Baby to open MEAN STREETS (arguably the single greatest use of a pop song in Hollywood history)…he was echoing the juxtaposition pop music and movies that Kenneth Anger had invented... From Anger to Scorsese to BLUE VELVET to SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, that synergy of movies and pop music has always had a special operatic power – it’s like a conduit to the unconscious – but until THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR, I’d never seen that same aesthetic employed in a documentary. The movie isn’t simply the record of the trial – it’s the story of a haunting nightmare… a ghoulish rhapsody of sin.”
- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“Engrossing! [...]  fascinating controversial views on stardom, the music industry, the American justice system and his unusual, reclusive life.”
- Neil Rosen, NY1
  
“A dark, gripping, revelatory and at times hilarious portrait. Spector himself is utterly captivating. Unmissable.”
- Andrew Male, Mojo (UK)

“Not only a hell of an exclusive but a work of art itself, a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.An overwhelming experience.”
- Andrew Billen, The Times (London)
  
“4 stars!   [...]   Extraordinary.”
- The Daily Mail (UK)
  
“One the Best Documentaries of the Year! ’”
- Time Out (London)


 


OFFICIAL SELECTION
St. Louis international FILM FESTIVAL
official selection
Ficunam international film festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION
sydney
international
film festival
 

 

RECENT SCREENINGS

 


May 23, 2013
Kehillat Israel Reconstuctionist Congregation
Pacific Palisades, CA
ourk.org

February 11, 12, 15, 2012
San Diego Jewish Film Festival
San Diego, CA
http://www.sdcjc.org/sdjff/

September 26, 2011
Jackpot Records Music & Film Festival
Bagdad Theater
Portland, OR
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August 22, 2011

Vancity Theatre

Vancouver, BC, Canada

http://www.viff.org

August 4, 2011

Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham, AL

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Programmed as part of "Who Shot Rock 'n' Roll" Exhibit

May 20-22, 2011

O Cinema

Miami, FL

http://www.o-cinema.org/


March 9, 2011

University of Boulder

International Film Series

Boulder, CO

http://www.internationalfilmseries.com/


January 27, 2011 – February 23, 2011

HELD OVER!

Bell Lightbox

Toronto, ONT

Director Vikram Jayanti in person 01/27 & 01/28.

http://tiff.net/films/films

January 26, 2011 – February 6, 2011

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston, MA

Director Vikram Jayanti in person January 26.
http://www.mfa.org/

January 7–9, 2011
Times Cinema
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December 17–23, 2010
West End Cinema
Washington, DC 
http://www.westendcinema.com/

December 11–13, 2010
Railroad Square Cinema
Waterville, ME
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December 8–14, 2010 
Film Forum
New York, NY
http://www.filmforum.org/

December 7 2010
The Loft
Tuscon, AZ
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December 3  & December 5 2010
Cleveland Museum of Art  
Cleveland, OH
http://www.clevelandart.org

December 3-9, 2010
North West Film Forum
Seattle. WA
http://nwfilmforum.org/

November 20- 22, 2010
Upstate Films  
Rhinebeck, NY
http://upstatefilms.org/

November 19–25, 2010
The Screen
Santa Fe, NM         
http://thescreensf.com/

November 19–21, 2010
Oklahoma City Museum
Oklahoma City, OK
http://www.okcmoa.com/

November 19–19, 2010
Eastman House
Rochester, NY  
http://www.eastmanhouse.org/

November 11–21, 2010
St. Louis International Film Festival
St. Louis, MO
http://www.cinemastlouis.org/festival

November 9 2010
Cinema Arts Centre
Huntington, NY
http://www.cinemaartscentre.org/

November 5-11, 2010
Cinema 21
Portland, OR
http://www.cinema21.com/

November 1-3, 2010
Alamo Drafthouse
Austin, TX
http://www.drafthouse.com/

October 29 – November 4 2010 
Real Art Ways
Hartford, CT
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October 29 – November 4 2010
Film Streams
Omaha, NE
http://www.filmstreams.org/

October 22-28, 2010
Siskel Film Center
Chicago, IL
http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/

October 21-24, 2010
Guild Cinema
Albuquerque, NM
http://www.cinemaguild.com/

October 20-23,  & October 27-29, 2010
The Showroom
Asbury Park, NJ
http://www.theshowroomap.com/

October 7 2010
Sound Unseen FF
Minneapolis, MN
http://soundunseen.com/

October 9 2010
Black Bear Film Festival
Milford, PA
http://www.blackbearfilm.com/

October 1-7, 2010
Belcourt Theatre
Nashville, TN 
http://www.belcourt.org/

September 24-30, 2010
Circle Cinema
Tulsa, OK
http://www.circlecinema.com/

September 23 & October 26 2010
Arena Theater
Point  Arena, CA
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September 17-23, 2010
Wexner Center
Columbus, OH
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September 13, September 17-23 2010 
Cinema du Parc
Montreal, Québec
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September 10-12, 2010
Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit, MI
Director Vikram Jayanti in person following the Jan 11 7:00pm screening.
http://www.cinemaduparc.com/english/homeen.html

September 10-16, 2010
Rafael Film Center
San Rafael, CA
http://www.cafilm.org/

September 10 2010
Roxie Theater
San Francisco, CA
Director Vikram Jayanti in person following the 7:00pm and 9:15pm screenings.
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August 19-25, 2010
The Egyptian Theater
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.americancinematheque.com/egyptian/egypt.htm

June 30 – August 3 2010
Film Forum  
New York, NY
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