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AMONG THE ELVES

Sweden, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Mooks Backbeat – Music on Film)

Director: Kirsi Nevanti

Freddie Wadling, the subject of this striking documentary, would only undergo life-saving surgery when his doctor lied to him and told him that Captain Beefhearl's mother had phoned and told him to go ahead with the operation! Just one of the many eccentricities of this Swedish musician who endured a bizarre childhood and whose career has taken in styles from Punk to Classical music. He made his stage debut in 1978 as Goteborg's oldest punk in a succession of bands including Straightjacket and Cortex. Wadling's next incarnation was in the notorious industrial outfit Leather Nun, banned from touring the US as "having no artistic merit whatsoever". The documentary follows Wadling's career through The Fleshquartet (formed in 19B5), creating a gothic variation on Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, before experimenting with everything from Madrigals to 17th century classics and ambient works. Kirsi Nevanti's documentary charts Wadling's obsessions (from the simple, horror films, to the excessive, singing along to operas while playing with a 44 magnum). Ironical, shy and mysterious, Wadling is a fascinating subject for a challenging filmmaker.

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