Hanoi Eclipse follows the challenges faced by the controversial Vietnamese band Dai Lam Linh. With vivid footage of the band working in the city of Hanoi, the film documents the recording of Dai Lam Linh’s debut album and features an album-launch concert in the prestigious Hanoi Opera House. Followed by scandal at every turn for their experimental sound and their use of sexually explicit lyrics, the band have dared to flout taboos and fight for their creative freedom. Dai Lam Linh’s story of creative, political and financial struggle reveals what it is like to be a contemporary musician in a one-party state where cultural expression is tightly controlled.
Academic Review by Professor Dale Olsen:
"Barley Norton ... is to be highly commended for his wonderful work with the storyline, filming, interviewing and recording, and everything else it took to make this highly successful production. It is a very impressive musical journey, at times scary, noisy, funny, touching, thought-provoking, and always challenging, yet emotionally rewarding ... This is truly a remarkable documentary film, and I highly recommend it ... It is a film that all university music programmes should own, and that all music students should be required to see." Dale Olsen, Yearbook for Traditional Music
In 1985, at the height of the war between the USSR-backed communist government and the US-supported mujahideen, ethnomusicologist John Baily travelled to Peshawar to make a film about Afghan musicians in exile. There he met his old friend Amir Mohammad, a player of the rubab lute. The film is a journey into Amir’s life: material, musical, and emotional. It reveals: the material condition of refugees not living in camps; the music business and the lives of working musicians; aspects of Pashtun culture as revealed in Shah Wali’s political songs; and a Pashtun wedding celebration with the firing of guns.
Amir won a Prix spécial de jury at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique in Paris, 1985, and a prize from the American Anthropological Association, 1989. In 2011, Amir was selected as one of the outstanding films to have been shown in the Jean Rouch International Film during the festival’s 30 year history, and was screened in the retrospective Trente Ans, Trente Films in Paris.
“The strength of this film and many films considered in this book lies not in the precision of a conceptual message conveyed, but rather for insight, evocation, sympathy, a sense of persons and places, and the cultural styles in which people speak, move, and perform. On all these accounts, Amir succeeds brilliantly in conveying a portrait of a sensitive, articulate man, keeping a hold on life through his musical skills.” Peter Loizos Innovation in ethnographic film. From innocence to self-consciousness. 1955–85, pp 88.
Meeting Through Music
This film documents the One Thousand Stars Festival of 2007 featuring musicians from about 60 different ethnic groups living in Southern Ethiopia. This festival is dedicated to build ties between different peoples that normally are on dispute or isolated from one another. While celebrating traditional music and culture the festival is a consequence of the processes of social transformation and integration taking place in this formerly remote area.