(above New Design High School)
Lower East Side
350 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002
F, J, M, Z to Delancey Street-Essex Street; B, D, Q to Grand Street
|8:30PM||Live Music by Jose Gonzalez|
|10:15PM||Q&A with filmmaker Mikel Cee Karlsson|
|11:30PM||After Party at Fontana's (105 Eldridge St., between Broome St. and Grand St.)|
The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez (Mikel Cee Karlsson and Fredrik Egerstrand | Sweden | 74 min.)
The visual elements that constitute the typical rock-doc are so well established at this point that they have been cliché for decades: talking head music critics and executives; footage of cheering crowds at the airports and hotels; triumphant concerts with the artist being embraced by masses of adoring fans. Karlsson and Egerstrand travelled extensively with Gonzalez over the course of three years, during which time his fame grew tremendously, so all of this footage presumably exists—or at least such images were available to the filmmakers, should they choose to shoot it.
But instead of resorting to such typical time-worn tropes, the filmmakers decided that what they most wanted to capture was Gonzalez’ internal life. Combining intimate live footage from concerts with stream of conscious audio clips, video diaries made by Jose, animated sequences created by Per-Isak Snälls and even hidden surveillance camera footage, Karlsson and Egerstrand document a sensitive and often frustrated artist as he confronts the loneliness of the creative process and of life itself. Searching for meaning in everything from the movement of photons to the theories of Darwin to the minutiae of everyday life, Gonzalez comes across less as an international superstar than as a humble and introspective human being attempting to understand his own existence.
The resulting film is not about adulating hordes of fans, but rather about rare moments of subtly sublime personal reflection; it’s not about the glamorous trappings of fame, but rather about the ways in which the everyday fragments of life shape who we are and what we create. It is small moments alone that make up the vast majority of the most meaningful sequences in the film, and as we slowly come to understand the thoughtful songsmith, we realize that this is truly the best—perhaps the only way—that a filmmaker could make a film that would truly be about Jose Gonzalez. As Gonzalez himself says, “What is there to write about? The best stuff is usually a small unexpected twist…while still maintaining a thread. Always searching for that thread…”