Skip to main content

THE ROAD TO GOD KNOWS WHERE

West Germany, 1990 (MIFF 1990, Documentaries)

Director: Uli M. Schüppel

Uli Schüppel was still a student at the Berlin Film Academy (DFFB) when he conceived this project - the documentation of a US tour by internationally recognised Australian cult figure, Nick Cave and his band of underground legends, The Bad Seeds. Schüppel's plan was to record the routines behind the glamour - the 23 hours of the day when the band is not playing - that make up the daily schedule of a touring performer. Schüppel goes out of his way to avoid making a "concert film", while allowing just enough snippets of the band's live performances to filter through, so as to give even the uninformed viewer a sense of The Bad Seed's work.

Using just a two-person crew (himself on camera and a sound recordist), the director has been able to infiltrate every imaginable moment of the band's days (and nights) without his presence obstructing the action. The "you-are-there" atmosphere allows the viewer to penetrate back-stage aprés-gig drinks, tour buses, TV and press interviews and arguments with venue owners with an intimacy rarely seen in conventional TV reporting, always laughably out-of-touch in fictional versions. Soon the recurring rounds of photoshoots, interviews, backstage parties and hotel rooms blur into one endless road; one show the same as the other; each hotel the same as the last; each batch of backstage hangers-on and nervous fans the same as the last.

The result of this approach is the gradual demystification of hte celebrity lifestyle that other media (and stars) usually perpetrate. Yet just as these details accumulate and are transformed into a mundane daily ritual for the performers, so too does the process become ever more fascinating for the viewer. The Road. . . is a voyeur's delight, packed with incidental detail and absurd fleeting moments to treasure, as these glum minstrels head on down the road, to god knows where.
- (TB)

See also...

MAN WITHOUT PIGS

The film captures the exotic spectacle, and at the same time the intense and subtle dynamics of village life through the eyes of John Waiko, a member of the Binandere clan in Papua New Guinea, and ... More »

BRAN NUE DAE

Tom Zubrycki's new film (following Friends and Enemies, Kemira etc.) follows performances of Broome's Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae, from rehearsal and development to the rapturous reviews and its ... More »

GOLDWIDOWS: WOMEN IN LESOTHO

The film's title is taken from the name given to the women whose men work as migrant labourers in the goldmines of South Africa. The men (from Lesotho, a small mountainous country surrounded by South ... More »

SENSO DAUGHTERS

Senso Daughters begins as an account of Japan's "forgotten", or Great Asian War and slowly evolves towards its real theme - the hidden history of women in war. Faced with official secrecy and denial ... More »

BEHIND THE MASK

Behind The Mask is a unique collaborative production commenced in London, shot in Belfast and completed here in Melbourne. The film initially started life as a project to be made for British ... More »

BLACK POWER - FAST FORWARD

This is not a balanced, even-handed portrayal of the Maori gang who call themselves Black Power. They are one of many such gangs in New Zealand, which have for years inspired fear and mistrust among ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director