Cinema Tuesdays: Under Great White Northern Lights

Posted on 23 May 2009

Bob Schriner

Getting a last minute invite to the Egyptian for a screening of the White Stripes tour documentary Under Great White Northern Lights was a thrilling prospect. I’ve been a fan of the band since their first singles so I was excited to see footage of their Canadian tour.

If you have not taken in a movie at the Egyptian, the experience is a good one. Not only is there a great selection of independent films being shown there, the place is operated by a non-profit so you can feel good about more than just taking in a good movie.

The premise behind this documentary is to follow The White Stripes on a tour that hit each Canadian province and territory. For the band to do such a tour is a real commitment to their fans as taking a jet to towns of 20,000 people probably costs more money than they could make. As someone who grew up a huge music fan, I know what it feels like to be thankful for a band to come play my city. The idea of a band going so far out of their way to play for people that rarely get to see big touring bands, really strikes a chord with me.

On this tour, the band made a point of playing three shows a day. Now if you’ve never been in a band, that degree of logistics is absolutely crazy. Naturally, they played one show in a larger venue; they also played two shows in very public places; pool halls, bowling alleys, town squares and even a city bus.

The footage of the movie combines amazing live footage with captivating shots of the band in picturesque settings. The director managed to shoot a good deal of close up footage on stage in 16mm and a handful of shots on video. The intensity of their performances makes for great watching. Of all the live footage I’ve seen of bands, this is hand down the best.

I know additional screenings are scheduled and the release date is soon to come. Do yourself a favor and see this on the big screen, then buy a copy to keep as this will warrant repeated viewings.

American Cinematheque at the Lloyd E. Rigler Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(east of Highland Avenue)

About Flux
Flux is a global creative community that celebrates film, art, music, design and culture. Flux is renowned for their acclaimed festivals, CINEMA TUESDAYS film events and quarterly screening series at UCLA’s Hammer Museum. www.flux.net

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