Instrument (2003)

March 25, 2017 · Regal Riviera · 10:00 A.M.

“Cohen and the band spent five years editing together this nonlinear patchwork. . . . It’s a beguiling, mesmerizing film, because it never settles on a straightforward path. It creates a portrait of the band without revealing the whole picture.”–Kyle Ryan, AV Club

Far from a traditional documentary, Instrument is a rough-hewn portrait of musicians at work. A true collaboration between Jem Cohen and Fugazi, the film covers a decade in the life of the post-hardcore band, combining Super 8, 16mm, and video footage that Cohen collected over the years–much of it shot by him, some of it gleaned from others.

“It was all pieced together from what I could afford and what I had in my hand and what I was comfortable with and what I could carry in my bag,” Cohen has said. “I felt that there were a lot of people that either didn’t have access to the band or had something of a misconception of what they were like. I wanted to address those issues to some degree, but what I really wanted to do was just capture music-making and try to make something that felt, visually, like music, and something where the music was inextricably tied in with the moving pictures.”

Instrument screened as part of our small retrospective of films by Jem Cohen at Big Ears.