Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Review: Joy Division, QFT, Belfast

Joy Division ‘rockumentary’ shows how music lives on

After 24 Hour Party People and Anton Corbijn's award-winning Control, post-punk legends Joy Division return to the big screen in this stirring documentary.

Simply titled Joy Division, the 2007 movie penned by punk guru Jon Savage had last night's Belfast Festival audience glued to their Queen's Film Theatre seats.

Director Grant Gee took us back to 1970s Manchester. But whereas most works about Joy Division focus on the tragic suicide of frontman Ian Curtis, Gee's film also shows the light at the end of the tunnel, namely the enduring career of the remaining members, who regrouped as New Order.

Guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris and bassist Peter Hook speak frankly about their origins in Manchester's punk scene.

There are also contributions from the late record company mogul Tony Wilson, and others who were there at the time.

Gee looks at all aspects of the band's career — the music, the lyrics, the production, the artwork, the touring, the japes.

Add in previously unseen footage (who knew there were this many video cameras in 70s Manc?) and a superb soundtrack showcasing the genius of the group's two albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer.

Joy Division's music lives on, but there will always be the die-hard followers, such as the couple in the front row of this screening who left before the closing scenes of New Order performing to huge crowds. For fans like these, there is no life after Ian.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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