Meeting People is Easy (1998, Grant Gee)

Categories: 1998 and Movies.

This is a deliberately disorienting documentary about what it’s like to be shy, socially awkward and in the biggest rock band in the world. I.e., it’s about Radiohead’s tour for OK Computer.

I understand the reason for the approach – Gee is trying to get us to feel what they (specifically Yorke) feel. But I find the deliberate artiness almost too much and unlikely to convert the non-fan.

I think the challenge here is to truly convey how awful it is for people who are not attention-seeking to suddenly have all the attention of the music world. And I’m not sure Gee entirely gets there. There are moments that are really compelling, that almost manage to get inside Yorke’s head, or which capture his or another band member’s wry observation about fame or about the state of the world as they see it. But too often the level of disorientation (fast cutting, multiple audio tracks, etc.) is too high. There are those of us who are open to this kind of approach and then there is the average person, who probably thinks these guys are spoiled rotten and the most miserable famous people we’ve ever seen. A little more conventional style might have helped more people actually relate to these guys as human beings, instead of spoiled famous people.

Still, a fascinating, if flawed, film.


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