We’re just hours away from the third night of Summerscreen, the L’s free outdoor film series/McCarren Park block party, tonight showing 24 Hour Party People, Steve Coogan’s US breakthrough and Joy Division’s umpteenth revival. Doors open at 6pm for Happy Hour featuring Sixpoint craft beer and Wines of Australia, and food from San Loco, Two Boots, and the ice cream truck. And if the movie’s not enough music for you, local bands Bright Brown and Phil and the Osophers play at 6:30 and 7:30.
Program notes after the jump…
24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
Postmodern before it was fashionable — and before its director, screenwriter and star teamed up on Tristram Shandy — this postpunk cock and bull story is unreliably narrated by the quips, quotations, self-justifications and mythmaking of Steve Coogan (then known as TV’s Alan Partridge), cast as Mancunian TV personality turned Factory Records and Hacienda Club impresario Tony Wilson (the inspiration for Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge character). Narrated, that is, when not skidding off in a digressive ecstasy inspired by a new larger-than-life supporting character (like Joy Division producer Martin Hannett, who was actually larger than death: his coffin was too big for his grave), or a new song, or a new drug. That Joy Division’s dire staccato and the Happy Mondays’ Dada house are the narrative’s double-A sides — and that Shaun Ryder, not Ian Curtis, is anointed Greatest Poet Since Yeats — is pure boosterism, but it fits. 24 Hour Party People is a personal (a)history of the Manchester scene, which the peripatetic Winterbottom loves to distraction and distortion, just like Wilson did: when Tony tells us the music is the real protagonist in his life story, we can see that he actually believes it — all evidence to the contrary.