Having seen 'Fever Year' last month at the New York Film Festival, I had the opportunity to go see another new independent film with a quite incredible musical connection this weekend at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).
'Beyond This Place' is a film about a 30 something year old Kaleo trying to reconnect with his father Cloud Rock La Belle who has been absent from his life since he was born, only keeping in contact via irregular letters and few and meetings few and far between. Cloud Rock's absence has been due to his lifestyle of Psychedelic drugs and absolute freedom which for him are almost religious beliefs.
Together the pair undergo a 500 mile bike tour across the Pacific Northwest. Documented by Kaleo (who himself is a film maker), the film is an exploration of what fatherhood really means to him, to Cloud and to the viewer. A new father himself, Kaleo's questions to his father are simple and to the point, full of emotion and resentment.
Though the film (and Cloud Rock) doesn't give answers, there is no final coming together of father and son, there is more of an understanding of each person and their standpoint. Why people choose to live like they do and the affects that it can have on others.
The musical link in the film comes from the magnificent Sufjan Stevens (along with Rayond Byron Magic Raposa of the Castanets) who scored the film at the request of Kaleo who is a childhood friend of his. Sufjan and Raymond were sitting onstage as the film was shown, playing their score live along with the film and spoken audio. This double performance was amazing to witness although it took me ten minutes to stop watching the musicians play and concentrate on the film itself. Two incredibly talented men, childhood friends, bought together by their creativity was just great to watch with the music only adding to the film it was a very clear collaboration. Again as with 'Fever Year' there was a Q&A afterwards which was fascinating especially on Kaleo's film making practice with this film and his now dorment again relationship with his father.