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Saturday, May 5, 2012

"No Distance Left to Run", Blur's popscene

No Distance Left to Run. A Film About Blur

Where were you while we we're getting high? Rhetorically asked the distinct's voice of Liam Gallagher in the Oasis' classic "Champagne Supernova", Blur's archenemy on the era of britpop. Those were my teenage years, and that's was also "my battle of the bands". "No Distance Left to Run" is a music documentary on the group's latest reunion to date, back in 2009, for a series of very special concerts, in a very emotional comeback for the four-piece members of Blur.

Directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace follow the band on the road, at rehearsals and during gigs, mixing it with extensive footage about Blur's history. Live shots are spectacular and the level of intimacy is particularly revealing in the internal dynamics of the band, without hiding their problems.

Very soon "No Distance Left to Run" shifts the focus to the relation between the singer and britpop icon Damon Albarn's and lead guitarist Graham Coxon, which in my opinion is the real highlight of the documentary. Yes, we also have a recap from their early days as a band and how they reached their superstardom status, being one of the main references of the britpop years... of craziness (but love to watch a deeper documentary on the issue). That success and popularity affected the band very seriously, in particular to the aforementioned two, to the point of putting Blur in limbo soon after Coxon left the group, due to his problems with alcohol and personal instability.  

But the music part looks more like a "Behind the Music" program, a bit too polished/friendly with the band to be really engaging (it misses some known "issues" as Albarn's politicisation or drug abuse). What intrigued me were the personal remarks of the band members. Blur's rebirth after seven years of hiatus really seemed to me an attempt of four persons trying to reconnect with their friendsAlex James and Dave Rowntree cannot hide their pain when they comment how Coxon left/was fired from the band. Albarn and Coxon show real emotion when they remember how they restored their heavily damaged communication.  That part is compelling and makes the whole documentary really recommendable. Its unclear whether is an active band anymore, but judging from "No Distance Left to Run" at least seems that their four members restored their friendship.

SCORE: 7/10

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