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Sundance music documentary: 'Shut Up and Play the Hits' is about more than a concert

Published January 24, 2012 9:22 am

Sundance • Film chronicles LCD Soundsystem's last 48 hours as a band.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace are directing partners whose documentary on the band Blur, "No Distance Left to Run," was nominated for a Grammy, among other awards.

Despite the accolades, the duo thought they would go in a different direction. "Having made a music film, we weren't sure that we would do another," Southern said.

But when the Englishmen learned that James Murphy and his band mates in the popular electronic music band LCD Soundsystem were breaking up, they were intrigued by the story.

It wasn't the same old classic rock-star cliché that had befallen bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd, where creative differences and sensitive egos destroyed once-tight groups. "They're still good friends," Southern said, marveling. "They [just] decided to call it a day."

After meeting Murphy through a mutual friend, Southern and Loveland made a film that's about more than just music, although it takes place in the 48 hours before at the band's final show at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. The film showcases the kinetic energy and dynamic music that propelled LCD Soundsystem's final album "This is Happening" to debut at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart, yet it's also an introspective meditation of the nature of stardom and taking fate by the throat.

A crucial collaborator in the film is author and essayist Chuck Klosterman, who engages with Murphy during the film in an interview that goes beyond cream-puff questions. Southern was told by Murphy that Klosterman conducted the most interesting interview he had ever been though during his career, so the filmmakers asked Klosterman to participate in the film. "You want the film to be completely honest," Lovelace said.

For Southern and Lovelace, music now seems an integral part of their moviemaking. "They're bedfellows," Southern said.

dburger@sltrib.com

'Shut Up and Play the Hits' screenings

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 11:30 p.m. • Prospector Square Theatre, Park City

Friday, Jan. 27 at 10 p.m. • Redstone Cinema 7, Park City

Saturday, Jan. 28 at 9:45 p.m. • Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City

All screenings are waitlist only