Seamus Murphy (IRL/GB 2019)
Documentaries that narrate social causes can come off as laden or self-congratulatory, so it's refreshing to see A DOG CALLED MONEY stray from these oft trodden paths. Director and photographer Seamus Murphy invites the singer PJ Harvey to follow him on his journeys to Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington, D.C. – an arbitrary path, but in many ways an intensely focused one. Harvey gathers her impressions into a collection that doesn't pretend to delve into worldwide crises, but instead presents ravaged, torn communities as culturally rich yet underexplored. To Harvey, that richness boils down to sound. After sharing her loose reflections in the voiceover, Harvey and band then patiently improvise on the unique sounds from disparate locations, to integrate them into her album, Hope Six Demolition Project. Harvey allows Murphy's camera into the studio, and also invites an outside audience, which stands behind a glass – a highly mediated experience, which nevertheless seems to want to reconstruct a sense of the communal in art. Beat by beat, the songs come to life in this observational documentary, tuned in to the plurality of musical heritages, and to Harvey's passionate craftsmanship. (Ela Bittencourt)


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