At some point, it became obligatory for every working indie-rock band to star in its own documentary. Now filmmakers have turned to less-explored crevices of the music world: hence the existence of Died Young, Stayed Pretty, a scrambled look at the people who draw posters advertising concerts. What glamorous rock & roll scene might next be depicted on screen? A portrait of the gentlemen who check IDs outside of clubs? A chronicle of the secret lives of Brooklyn Vegan commentators?
Appropriate to her subject matter, director Eileen Yaghoobian catches a mass of arresting visual images—vast tubs of paint, unusually framed talking heads and, of course, the flashy posters themselves. Yet the movie’s lack of a coherent narrative or authoritative voice doesn’t work in its favor, leaving unanswered questions about the history of the art form it sets out to explore. Instead, Yaghoobian focuses on the men—postering apparently being the last bastion of male domination in rock music—who create the posters. With a few exceptions, her subjects make for an unpleasant and mildly creepy group, quick to share inane theories and gory natter. What is intended as a portrait of self-styled eccentrics becomes plodding as the artists are given free range to expound on subjects far beyond their field. Who continues to buy all those Melvins posters, anyway?—Jay Ruttenberg
Opens Fri; IFC. Find showtimes