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Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, April 14–17

Highlights of this year’s CIMMF include docs on Ministry, the Replacements, Fishbone and Creation Records. Ha Ha Tonka and Mike Watt provide the in-the-flesh noise.

1/104
Pleasant People
2/104
Color Me Obsessed
3/104
Last Days Here
4/104
Color Me Obsessed
5/104
Dress to Impress
6/104
Songs Along A Stony Road
7/104
The Glitter
8/104
Old Man Raps
9/104
Rock n Roll... Of Course!
10/104
The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
11/104
Dream Factory
12/104
Arias With A Twist
 (Photographer: Helen Neylan)
13/104
Photographer: Helen Neylan
Northcote (So Hungover)
14/104
Flames of God
15/104
So Damn High
16/104
Mrs. Buck in Her Prime
17/104
Seashells
18/104
My House Stood in Sulukule
19/104
Lifetime
20/104
Arias With A Twist
21/104
Arias With A Twist
22/104
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
23/104
Firewall of Sound
24/104
Elsewhere
25/104
Firewall of Sound
26/104
Arias With A Twist
27/104
Firewall of Sound
28/104
Beat
29/104
Ballad of Mott the Hoople
30/104
Ang13 and Urbanized Music
31/104
Legend- A Film About Greg Garing
32/104
Io Don Giovanni
33/104
Ivory Tower
34/104
Mass
35/104
Bob and the Monster
36/104
My House Stood in Sulukule
37/104
The Shukar Collective Projects
38/104
Old Man Raps
 (Only the Best :-)))
39/104
Only the Best :-))
Help Desk
40/104
Backyard Tire Fire
41/104
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
42/104
First Night
43/104
Ivory Tower
44/104
Io Don Giovanni
45/104
Ivory Tower
46/104
Score: A Hockey Musical
47/104
Legend: A Film About Greg Garing
48/104
Arias With A Twist
49/104
An Impression
50/104
Io Don Giovanni
51/104
Legend: A Film About Greg Garing
52/104
X Magazine Benefit
53/104
Arias With A Twist
54/104
Arias With A Twist
55/104
X Magazine Benefit
56/104
KMS - Jewish Negroes
57/104
Doina
58/104
Blaze Foley
59/104
Eyes Manouche
60/104
First Night
61/104
Superstonic Sound
62/104
Ivory Tower
63/104
Road Dogs
64/104
No Fun City
65/104
KMS - Jewish Negroes
66/104
Dream Factory
67/104
Legend: A Film About Greg Garing
68/104
Ivory Tower
 (Only the Best :-)))
69/104
Only the Best :-))
Help Desk
 (Owen Richards)
70/104
Owen Richards
Elsewhere
71/104
Everyday Sunshine
72/104
Gurf Morlix
73/104
Lifetime
74/104
Bouncing Cats
75/104
Arias With A Twist
76/104
Firewall of Sound
77/104
Eyes Manouche
78/104
Doina
79/104
So Damn High
80/104
FIX
81/104
Wrekmeister
82/104
Ha Ha Tonka
83/104
Flames of God
84/104
Ivory Tower
85/104
The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
86/104
XXIX
87/104
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
88/104
Bollywood Dream
89/104
Mrs. Buck in Her Prime
 (COSMIN BUMBUT)
90/104
COSMIN BUMBUT
The Shukar Collective Projects
91/104
The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
92/104
FIX
93/104
Songs Along a Stony Road
94/104
You Can't Sing It For Them
95/104
Journey of a Dream
96/104
Seashells
97/104
Steepwater
98/104
Hard Rock Havana
99/104
Morgenrot
100/104
Score: A Hockey Musical
101/104
XXIX
102/104
Keep It Moving
 (Photographer: Helen Neylan)
103/104
Photographer: Helen Neylan
Northcote (So Hungover)
104/104
Everyday Sunshine

The bulk of the CIMMF consists of documentaries about music groups. Dozens of them, covering everything from Mott the Hoople to Ugandan break-dancers. Oh, and there’s a Canadian musical about hockey, as well. Perhaps it’s merely our nostalgia, but the film highlights focus on many of the bands that led us to be music writers.

There’s sensationalism in spades in FIX: The Ministry Movie (Thursday 14). Backstage with the legendary Chicago industrial-metal act on tour, we see every side of Al Jourgensen. By film’s end, that means syringes, bulletproof vests and groupies.

Color Me Obsessed (Friday 15) is one of the more fascinating entries; it tells the story of the Replacements without using archival footage, the band’s music or living members. Instead, the rise and self-destruction of the Minneapolis greats is seen through the eyes of fans and peers. It works better than you’d expect, capturing the joy of talking about music. Sure, there are some ridiculously rose-tinted fanboy statements, such as calling Stink one of the best two American records ever made. But by the end you’re absolutely itching to play some Mats.

Long before the term Afro-punk was coined, let alone branded, ska trailblazers Fishbone were blowing minds on the L.A. underground. The group’s 30-plus-year career is chronicled in the bittersweet doc Everyday Sunshine (Saturday 16). Flea, Perry Farrell and Gwen Stefani offer testimony to the black band’s greatness, and almost feel guilty that their respective bands now enjoy the mainstream success that forever eluded their onetime peers.

Whenever Noel Gallagher opens his mouth, something brazen or hilarious comes out. And the Oasis man features heavily in Upside Down: The Creation Records Story (Friday 15), alongside other ’90s Brit-rock greats like Bobby Gillespie. It’s the slickest, most professional-looking doc of the fest. But what do you expect from a label that spent a quarter-million pounds on a My Bloody Valentine record?

Though far outweighed by screenings, there are some live gigs under the CIMMF umbrella as well. Fresh off an appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s show, Mizzourah storytellers Ha Ha Tonka(Saturday 16) whip up a storm with emotional folk-rock. The foursome’s latest, Death of a Decade, is as deeply indebted to the Ozarks as Winter’s Bone—kinda depressing, but strangely beautiful. And no squirrels were harmed in its making. Probably.

Sure, you can watch We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (Friday 15), but it’s almost pointless. Bassist Mike Watt, punk’s cool uncle, is still on the road, touring in shitty vans and living the DIY dream. The 53-year-old keeps on sporting beaten flannel shirts and aggressively thumbing his instrument in funky, scrappy power trios, the latest being Mike Watt & The Missingmen(Friday 15). Besides, the guy is so nice, he’d likely buy you a drink and tell you the story of the Minutemen himself.

CIMMF runs Thursday 14 through Sunday 17. Find the complete lineup at cimmfest.org.

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