Friday, April 24, 2015

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (Director's Cut)

Directed by Adrian Meben, Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a concert/documentary film in which the British progressive rock band plays live inside the ruins of Pompeii. The film is an unusual concert film as the band plays inside an abandoned amphitheatre with no audience as the material covers tracks the band did in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film would also be inter-cut with footage of the band recording their 1973 breakthrough album Dark Side of the Moon. The result is a visually hypnotic and mesmerizing film from Adrian Meben.

The film is simply a concert performance of Pink Floyd playing a few songs in an empty amphitheatre in Pompeii as they would also walk around its surroundings while doing a few performances in a studio in Paris inter-cut with images of Pompeii as well as breaks into the recording of Dark Side of the Moon. It’s a film that showcases the art rock band at a crucial period in time where they would break away from being this cult art-rock band that were previously famous for bringing their own take of British psychedelia in the late 1960s to becoming the world-famous stadium rock band of the 1970s and beyond. The performances at Pompeii features images of the locations with its volcanoes and ruined landmarks as director Adrian Meben brings a visual interpretation of these songs.

Half of the cuts are from the band’s 1971 release Meddle where the 23-minute track Echoes opens and closes the film as it’s split into two parts while two of the tracks are from the band’s second album A Saucerful of Secrets with a famous B-side in Careful with That Axe, Eugene that is performed. Many of which plays into the band’s approach to art and progressive music where Meben would inter-cut with images of Pompeii and nearby locations as well as images of space. Though some of the results that are unveiled in Maben’s 2003’s cut of the film which does expand the original 1972 one-hour cut and its 1974 expanded 80-minute cut. The space images does sort of take away the elements of the band’s performance and the images of Pompeii despite the nice visual effects work of Michel Francois and Michel Y Gouf in the backdrops for the band in their performances.

The film also features footage of the band in various recording sessions in Paris and in London at Abbey Road Studio as the former showcases them doing recordings on the track Echoes with interviews from the band during that time as much of the Paris interviews are shot in black-and-white. The scenes in Abbey Road showcase the band recording tracks for their 1973 breakthrough album as well as outtakes of what they were doing at the time. With the aid of cinematographers Willy Kurant and Gabor Pogany, Maben captures not just the band at work but also in its performances with nice wide shots and lingering, naturalistic images of Pompeii.

With the aid of editor Jose Pinheiro, with Nino DiFonzi for its 2003 director‘s cut, Meben brings in some stylish editing to the performances such as stylish montages and jump-cuts. The sound work of Charles Rauchet and Peter Watts, with additional work from Philippe Carrere for its 2003 director’s cut, add to the power of these performances as well as capturing some of the moments that occur in the locations in Pompeii. Even in some of its smoky areas as it help add various textures to some of the songs the band does.

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a marvelous film from Adrian Meben. Fans of the band will definitely see this as essential though some of the new material Meben adds for its 2003 cut isn’t that great. It’s a film that captures the band at a moment where they were adventurous and fearless before they would become the icons of rock. In the end, Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is extraordinary film from Adrian Meben.

Pink Floyd Films: (London ‘66-‘67) - Pink Floyd: The Wall - The Final Cut - (Delicate Sound of Thunder) - (Pulse)

© thevoid99 2015

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