Died Young Stayed Pretty

"Good"

Died Young Stayed Pretty Review


This documentary examines the dying art of rock music posters, which have had a huge effect on the world of graphic design. It's a visually stunning film, even if the subject matter isn't hugely compelling.

Rock posters burst onto the scene in the early 1980s with provocative images designed to grab attention and offend everyone but the fans. Sparked by punk rock and the counter-culture movement, these irreverent posters feature inventive, rough-hewn images and are often hand-crafted by enthusiastic fans who plaster them all over walls and poles, creating an anarchic street culture and often making the band look cooler than it is. The film interviews the geeks who designed these posters, looking back at the glory days of an art form that's disappearing.

Director Yaghoobian assembles the movie with wit and invention, capturing the scruffy texture of screen-print art with lurid colours and clever sound mixing.

And the colourful interviewees are engagingly obsessive fans who love working at the grass roots to support bands by coming up with the most eye-catching artwork. They're also painfully aware that this style of poster isn't as compatible with music today as in the rock 'n' roll heyday. So they nostalgically indulge in their private collections (Hayes is creating an exhaustive poster archive in his online Gigposters community).

While it's fascinating to see the origins of these vibrant posters, many of which subvert political, religious and corporate icons, the film cuts around randomly, with little context or relevance. There isn't a central figure we can hang onto; everyone gets equal time, which leaves the film feeling a bit aimless. A terrific montage tracing the printing process, drenched in blood-red ink, is particularly impressive, but the whole film would have benefitted from an overall narrative framework.

That said, this is a lively and entertaining collection of small sequences and visceral colour. Yaghoobian uses effectively offbeat camerawork and snappy editing, playing with graphic design and capturing the tiny obsessions of these nerdy designers, which adds amusing insight to each interview. And even though the meandering structure loses us, there's plenty of visual stimulation along the way. And a lot of extremely cool posters we'd love to get our hands on.



Died Young Stayed Pretty

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th July 2009

Distributed by: Norotomo Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eileen Yaghoobian

Producer: Eileen Yaghoobian

Also starring:

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