Friday, November 09, 2007

AIR GUITAR NATION - who knew?!

AIR GUITAR NATION is a hillarious and bizarrely fascinating documentary by TV producer/docu director Alexandra Lipsitz. It follows a couple of American air guitarists as they compete for the American title and, most importantly, a chance to compete in the Annual World Air Guitar Championships in Oolu, Finland. At first, the film feels like a mockumentary or a spoof in the style of SPINAL TAP or even WAYNE'S WORLD. But pretty soon, you're aware that this is a genuine counter-cultural movement. For every C-Diddy that wears an absurd costume and strutts the stage Tenacious-D stylee, there are scores of real-life, serious-as-Sarbox metal-heads who do NOT permit you to mock the "art" of air guitar. The ultimate example of this is two-time world champion, Zac Munro who talks with unerring belief in The Zen of Air Guitar and the difficulty of handling the pressure of fame.

You can watch this doc. on two levels. First, and most importantly, it's just a lot of fun. It's great to hear those classic rock-tunes blasting out and a bunch of guys with, for the most part, serious day-jobs, unashamedly rocking out in public. I defy even the most grinchiest of grinches not to leave with a smile on their face. On another level, I find it fascinating to see the audience's expectations subverted. I mean, here are a bunch of people that a lot of people would consider to be losers - blowing a bit of stupidity out of all proportion. The guy I went to see this with couldn't imagine anything more stupid than being a semi-pro air guitarist and thought that the competitors would all be spotty teenage metal-head oiks! In fact, the guys in this doc seem pretty normal and if anything, admirably ambitious. So, there you have it!

AIR GUITAR NATION played a bunch of festivals in 2006 and was released in Japan earlier in 2007. It is currently on release in the UK. AIR GUITAR NATION is also available on Region 1 DVD.

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