“Mystify: Michael Hutchence” Debuts
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-04-27)
Mystify: Michael Hutchence, a documentary about INXS front man Michael Hutchence premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this week. The film, directed by Richard Lowenstein, debuted on Thursday night at the Festival. Lowenstein, a long time collaborator with Hutchence and INXS, also worked with U2 on a number of videos including “Desire” and “Angel of Harlem.” In recent years Lowenstein has turned to filmmaking with a focus on the Australian music scene. Hutchence at one time had been the lead in Lowenstein’s film Dogs in Space.
The documentary is just shy of two hours, and features personal footage from friends and family including band members, family, record producers, and girlfriends. It also makes use of footage from concerts, interview footage from the press, and interviews with people who knew Hutchence. The interview with Bono was the first interview collected for the film, which has been ten years in the making. Bono was interviewed in 2010 as the band visited Australian on the U2360 tour.
Hutchence was the front man for INXS, and also had a solo recording career until his death at the age of 37 in 1997. Hutchence was close to Bono, and they often would hang out together. Leaving an album of solo material unfinished when he died, Bono would contribute vocals to the song “Slide Away” on the 1999 release, Micheal Hutchence. The song “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” was also written for Hutchence.
Others interviewed include Kylie Minogue, Helena Christensen, INXS band members Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, and Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, family members Tina and Rhett Hutchence, and many others. Interviews are conducted off screen, you hear those being interviewed over top of footage of Hutchence, a choice Lowenstein made to keep the images from the 1980s, and to not interupt the “time capsule” look of the older footage.
Quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald, Lowenstein said, “I look at some of the dramas or the documentaries and I think that’s not the person I knew. There’s images of him, but they don’t seem to portray the person I knew, the humble shy person who would turn into a rock star on stage but then come off and be this completely natural person.”
The film had its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday night, and has additional showings throughout the weekend. It is debuting in Canada at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto on Sunday night. The film will be released in Australian cinemas on July 4. The documentary will also be shown on BBC Two, but a date for that premiere on television has yet to be announced – the documentary has been co-produced by the BBC along with Screen Australia, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
A soundtrack being released through Petrol Records will include unheard Micheal Hutchence tracks, but a track listing has not yet been announced. Release is expected to happen in July to coincide with the Australian screen debut. The film credits the music in the film to Hutchence himself, Andrew Farriss of INXS, longtime Hutchence collaborator Ollie Olsen, and Warren Ellis who compiled the original score for the documentary.
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