Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 10:10 UK

Arctic Monkeys film to hit cinemas

Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys

By Emma Jones
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

They've had awards lavished upon them since they first stormed the charts in 2005, but the Arctic Monkeys have never exactly courted the cameras.

Until now.

This notoriously private band have allowed a few of them in their faces for their upcoming release, Arctic Monkeys Live at the Apollo.

Shot on 16mm film, the production charts the band's last show of their 2007 tour at Manchester.

It focuses entirely on their performances and shows no audience interaction.

With a grainy, retro feel to it, it has pretensions towards some of the classic acts such as James Brown who also performed sets at the famous venue - in his case, back in 1963.

The Arctic Monkeys
The Arctic Monkeys won the Mercury Music Prize in 2006

"We'd done the second album and felt that we had enough songs," Nick O'Malley, the group's bass player, says.

"We'd never seen ourselves play so we felt we'd get a memory out of it."

Drummer Matt Helder quips: "It's like D:Ream.

"Things can only get better. It's a milestone for us to get better from."

But the film is more than a handy video reference for the band - it will be on sale as a DVD in November, and before that it will have a very limited cinema release.

It is also screened at the Raindance Film Festival and will be shown as part of the BBC Electric Proms season.

'Rock doc'

It was filmed by The Mighty Boosh actor Richard Ayoade, who is also making a name for himself as a music video director.

But should what is essentially concert footage actually be treated as a piece of cinema?

Scorsese's pairing with the Rolling Stones for Shine a Light could have paved the way for this release.

The director put 17 cameras in place in order to film a concert the Stones staged in New York.

I think the fact they staged a gig and let the cameras in, especially shows they are interested in it as an art form rather than getting something out before Christmas
Paul Stokes, NME

Possibly more than any other film about the band, it revealed the on-stage partnership between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

It also received good reviews from critics on its debut at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

However, the Arctic Monkeys and Ayoade deny that Shine a Light has anything to do with their work.

"It was actually shot before Shine a Light came out," Ayoade says. "I did try to tell Marty it was better."

The idea of a cinema red carpet for a "rock doc" isn't new.

George Michael and Madonna are amongst big names who have done it.

'Something different'

A big-screen release usually boosts a band's DVD sales.

However NME news editor Paul Stokes also claims this is part of the film business, tapping into the boom in live music sales.

"Lots of DVDs have been rushed out in the last couple of years because the industry believes the public will buy anything with 'live' attached to it, " he says.

"I think the Arctic Monkeys are at least doing something different.

The Rolling Stones and Marin Scorcese
The Rolling Stones and Martin Scorcese worked together

"If they were going to make a film they could have done their Old Trafford stadium concert and rushed out a standard souvenir - 'see you later'.

"I think the fact they staged a gig and let the cameras in, especially shows they are interested in it as an art form rather than getting something out before Christmas."

And whilst the Stones waited 40 years to team up with Scorsese, Stokes believes that the YouTube generation of rock stars are under pressure to please fans earlier in their career.

"Every gig you go to now, there are phones in the air and clips on YouTube the next day.

"No wonder bands want to put something out properly instead of camera phone footage. So there really is an impetus on them to do it sooner rather than later these days."


There may be another reason to treat the Arctic Monkeys DVD seriously.

The group are unlikely to release any kind of fly-on-the-wall documentary any time soon.

"When I look at myself speaking on stage, it's difficult for me to watch," singer Alex Turner admits.

"I feel that each of the sentences should have been shorter - or just not happened at all."

With that kind of attitude, for now, Arctic Monkeys will let the music do their promotion.

The full report will be broadcast on E24 on the BBC News Channel on Saturday, 11 October at 1045 and 1745 BST, and on Sunday, 12 October at 1745 and 2145 BST.

The DVD is released in the UK on 3 November and a day later in North America.

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