Read R*E*P*E*A*T's interview with Elizabeth Marcus & Kurt Engfehr from 2009 here
A verite multimedia mash-up experiment that will turn the traditional rocknroll documentary upside-down and shake it until the change falls out of its pockets
NO MANIFESTO: A FILM ABOUT
The UK cinema premier, featuring live Q&As with
filmmakers Elizabeth Marcus and Kurt Engfehr,
Invited to enter the bands inner sanctum with a hand-held camera in 2005, she captured the NMEs Godlike Genius Award winners in their native Wales from which theyd exploded with their first album Generation Terrorists over two decades before.
And now shes about to answer every Manic Street Preachers fans prayer with this long-awaited in-depth documentary feature.
No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers, released in cinemas in January, is the American movie makers personal homage to a band whose restless reinvention, political awareness and uncompromising desire to be different has propelled them through the charts for almost three decades.
Told using interviews with nearly 100 fellow fans across the world, archive footage, intimate conversations at home with the band during the making of their 2007 album Send Away The Tigers, and live performances from three tours filmed especially for this project, it is a story of rock and roll endurance, respect and truth.
The Manics aesthetic is to be a collage to put together things that interest them and that may not fit together in an obvious way at first glance but have an underlying connection. I wanted to make a film like that one that looks and feels more like a scrapbook than a narrative.
And I wanted to make the fans a big part of it because it was largely the fan community that had inspired my enthusiasm for the band.
Twelve years in the making, No Manifesto captures The Manics, lifelong pals James Dean Bradfield (singer/lead guitar), Nicky Wire (bass/lyricist) and Sean Moore (drums), approaching their 40s and coming to terms with what it means to be a middle-aged rock band possibly the hardest realignment since the dramatic disappearance of their friend and fourth band member Richey Edwards in February 1995.
Having to talk about Richey, although they really wanted to do it, was hard for them, recalls Elizabeth. They didnt want to dwell on the fact of his absence. It was almost like he went out to buy a packet of cigarettes and hell be back any minute.
The band continue to put aside royalties for Richey, ready for him to collect should he ever return to the Caerphilly mining town of Blackwood where they grew up.
Thats what drives the band their working class bond, their friendship. A lot of fans mention that in the interviews, says Elizabeth. The love for each other thats seen them through all the ups and the downs.
The downs included the critically cool reception to their 2004 album Lifeblood when they were forced to reassess their status.
In the early 2000s their period of mass audiences had peaked, says Elizabeth. While we were making the film, they were exploring what it means not to be arena fillers any more but to still have a commercial audience people who care about them and buy their records and always will.
Its that diverse and articulate fan base thats uniquely captured on the film and holds the Manics mad montage of a career together in more ways than one.
A typical Manics fan is less defined by what you can see on the outside; inside they all feel they dont quite belong in a positive, not a negative way, says Elizabeth.
There are some people who do the things that are expected of them and others with a restlessness and desire for something more exciting. That doesnt have to mean wild and crazy and dramatic. It can just mean being proud of who you are.
Like the fan in the title sequence says, The Manic Street Preachers definitely taught me its OK to take pride in ones intelligence, to believe in things, to believe in oneself, and to be sexy and fabulous while doing it!
No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers is an independently funded production from American director Elizabeth Marcus and co-producer/editor Kurt Engfehr.
- Mao Tse-Tung