Theory of Obscurity: A Film about the Residents

2015 documentary

Rating: 14/20

Plot: A look at the influential and consistently inventive avant-garde goofballs, The Residents.

"We will die pretending to be a band."

This is almost like a 90 minute advertisement for the band, The Residents. I'm not sure there's anything revolutionary for fans here, especially since fans of this particular cult band are as obsessive diehards as they come. And I'm not sure why it would appeal to individuals who are not fans of this sort of thing.

Still, there's a treasure trove of footage--from very very early live stuff where faces seem to be clearly shown through the beginnings of their recording career through lots of fun stuff with the failed Vileness Fats film through their first tours through their ventures with various technological formats through the present day shenanigans. It's loads of stuff, showcasing an ensemble that is always in motion and always willing to take on new risks.

Les Claypool might have described fans of the art ensemble best when he talked about learning to "appreciate the fungus." You can't watch this and deny that the eyeballed freaks are a force though. This shows them off as marketing geniuses. And you just have to respect the evolution of a group of people who started off their careers feeling that music had been dominated by people who could play instruments for too long to a collective of who-knows-how-many sustaining a career that's lasted for over forty years.

I really enjoyed seeing Molly Harvey, a part-time vocalist for the group who in her real life appears to be a completely normal person.

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