The unique documentary about a unique musical project.
Christian Francoformer member of The New Maevans; funny story for Indie Rocks! an anecdote that, in some way, would be a prediction of what happened to his group.
“In a peda in a sculptor’s house, there was a head of Jesus Christ carved in stone, about a meter and a half. And we were thinking that it would have been cool to get crushed by that head of Jesus Christ and have it appear in the headline of a magazine. From fantasizing about this idea of ’they were on tour, but they died crushed by faith’, the title of crushed by faith That was a tour we did.”
And it is that The New Maevansgrouping of hardcore punk emerged in Mexicali, Baja California, during the eighties; they would end up (metaphorically) being crushed –in this case by the system they were fighting against- and they would have to separate, and their members would go their separate ways. On this, the filmmaker Carlos Matsuo remembers wistfully:
I think that what they did was the best that has been seen in Mexico in terms of music. And then it’s a pity that they let themselves be defeated. In other words, it is not so much that they have been crushed –as Cristian alludes-, but rather that each one of them has vanished. So it makes me sad to think about it, sometimes I don’t even want to think about it, because it ruins my day.”
Matsuo and Franco joined efforts to bring to life Scotland is not a bank, a peculiar feature film where the former documents the latter’s efforts in trying to get the band back together after years of not seeing each other, and trying to pick up where they left off with the project. But his good intentions will run into all kinds of resistance and obstacles. Director and musician worked closely on this work, as he comments Carlos:
“In the end we are as co-directors. Actually, we each did script work and everything, but we did it together. Also the editing. The whole process was between the two. It was a very organic process, which took place while we came up with ideas. And that’s how things turned out, we weren’t planning it. It wasn’t like someone who said ‘you have this role and nothing else, that’s all you’re going to do’, but we both gave everything”.
The result of this lemony collaboration is a somewhat unusual film, which combines characteristic elements of the documentary, with others typical of the mockumentary and of performance. On this the musician comments:
For a moment we were about to make the mistake of choosing a very predictable path. And the time we had to make the film gave us spaces for reflection”.
For its part, Carlos Matsuo Add:
“It wasn’t such a strict plan of saying ‘this is the structure, and this is how it’s going to be.’ The only thing is that there were some things to solve, and the way to do it for me, at first was to use satire. For me that was the best way to present the information and to introduce you to The New Maevans. From then on, the question of mockumentary It’s a decision thought out as part of the band’s universe, like mockery”.
That playful spirit that conceptually characterized the group is present in the film from the time the title was chosen, as he explains. Christian Franco.
“The origin of the title comes from a misunderstanding, from a deafness. I overheard someone else’s conversation about something from the bank, and I said ‘How come Scotland isn’t a bank?’ And I really didn’t know what the reality of that conversation was anymore, and that becomes a record. The title of Scotland is not a bank is part of other satellite projects that are from the same cosmos as The New Maevans. One of the sister groups of The New Maevans it was called Scotland is not a bank. But it also has a lot to do with this decomposition of information, of a message. Like playing broken phone. And I think that the film also has, within its structure and visibly, a lot of this characteristic. I think that the title has a connection with the performative actions, with the same body or skeleton of The New Maevans”.
In fact, due to its critical, caustic and at times absurd humor, the documentary seems to be like an audiovisual extension of the shows and the characteristic conceptual dynamics of the group. Franco himself perceives it this way:
“I do see the documentary as an extension of what we did with The New Maevans. The roll of satire and humor is implicit in the project. The band has that spirit of self-criticism through humor. And what we did was amplify it, take it to the audiovisual world. But I feel that it is the closing of a project that was worked on, that was cultivated for many years with a nature where time intervenes”.
“I think that one of the legacies of the project – ‘legacy’ if you can call it that, ‘residues’, I would say – is precisely the film, and many other things that can be analyzed, let’s say from another perspective that is not the sound , the musical, and that has to do with other aspects where experimentation comes into play. And what was done here is real, and we can stand up and defend it.”
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Rock&Cinema: [Capítulo 22] Scotland is not a bank
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