Oh, what cannot springtime in Paris bring about…. During two evenings in March, 2012, the French capital was thrown into turmoil. About 17,000 fans a night attended when Rammstein fired off their Best-of-Fireworks show at the Palais Omnisports, during the “Made in Germany” tour. And it was up to Jonas Åkerlund to adapt the whole thing into a silver screen spectacle worthy of the band’s live reputation. Whether he succeeded, fans will be the judge of throughout selected theatres at the end of March.
Already the intro of the show proves to be quite memorable and resembles a gladiator march. The bandmembers stride through the middle of the audience to the solemnly hypnotic music which heralds their entrance – as if Rammstein and their followers celebrate some kind of ritual. And when the first chords of the opening song, “Sonne”, resound on the heels of their entry, all hell breaks loose. The audience chants in a thousand voices, to the extent that their hailed Messiah, Till Lindemann, doesn’t even have to sing the song himself. From a birds-eye perspective, the raging mass of people looks like a storming sea of hands.
To the highlights of this 16-song strong spectacle count the macabre “Mein Teil”, to which Lindemann takes on the role of a lecherous cannibal and flambees the keyboard player, Flake, in a huge pot. “Bück Dich” is performed on a small, raised stage in the midst of the auditorium, complete with all kinds of homo-erotic innuendo, and the no less sexually charged, foam cannon finale, “Pussy”. Classics such as “Wollt Ihr das Bett in Flammen Sehen”, “Keine Lust”, “Asche zu Asche”, “Feuer Frei”, “Mann gegen Mann”, “Mein Herz Brennt” and “Engel” make the set list as well as the rarely played, “Frühling in Paris”, befit the occasion.
Being There Instead of Looking On
The film is a document of the massive tour the band undertook between November, 2011, and August, 2013. With 78 concerts played in Europe, and another 21 shows in North America, the tour employed 60 crew members, 24 lorries and a stage measuring in at the impressive 15 times 24 metres. No less impressive is the fact that the hundred amplifiers at 380,000 Watts needed their own power unit.
With Rammstein’s in-house producer, Jacob Hellner, taking care of the mixing, and the opulent, 7.1 Dolby Sound, the cinema experience will be like being in the middle of the show for 98 minutes, instead of just looking on. Editing and effects bring the concert to a whole different level, in effect, making the film into one, long music video. A radical, state-of-the-art movie that brings the band unusually close. The post production gives the film almost psychotic traits at times, akin a horror movie with its recurring distorted and grotesque close-ups. The tempo changes between the extremely slow and the very fast, along with the distance shots, add to the experience, and the interchanging monochrome and colour images touch on the dramatic. At this point, the concert film becomes a piece of art.
Film Making Rebel
The Swedish director, Jonas Åkerlund, is used to a lot of twists and turns in his career. He made the music video for the song, “Pussy”, with Rammstein, whose uncensored version can only be found at adult porno sites, and he directed the ironic, “Mann gegen Mann” nude video. He wasn’t exactly making friends in the Black Metal community when he just recently filmed Metallica’s “ManUNkind”, in the style of Mayhem and company, and he used a good portion of humour while poking fun at Black Metal, something otherwise easily missed when it comes to this genre. Fun fact: Åkerlund played the drums in the band, Bathory, from 1983 to 1984, which is often cited as an major influence on a lot of Black Metal outfits. That he does not give much for correctness is evident in the diverse, visual collaborations with artists such as Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz, Robbie Williams, Lady Gaga, U2, and the Rolling Stones.
“Rammstein played a major role in the development of my own creativity, even when a lot of what I do may go in the completely different stylistic direction,” says the Scandinavian about his collaboration with Rammstein. “They are the kind of artists who you can present with ideas that would be impossible with any other artist. Additionally, they’re team players and take direction well, and we have a mutual respect in everything that we do together.”
Åkerlund pulled off the feat of adapting the overwhelming Rammstein show for the silver screen, the even if the perfectly choreographed show live of its show effects, costumes, pyros and theatrical element. “Rammstein:Paris” throws the viewer onto the middle of the stage. “It was like trying to film fireworks,” according to the director. “The trick is in trying to convey an experience that is really meant to be experienced on site, to the big screen or the TV.” In order to achieve that, some 30 cameras were used to shoot the most unlikely angles and thus enable as unconventional cuts as possible. “Even if you were at the concert, you’ll see things in the film that you never realized were there live,” says Åkerlund enthusiastically.
With that much material, there is no wonder that the film took so long to edit. Altogether, the Swede and his team allowed themselves a full year to do it. “Regarding the editing, I work as carefully and I pay as much attention to detail with a feature length film as I do with a three-minute music video,” he says. However, that alone does not explain why it took five years from filming to the cinemas, but according to the director, time really doesn’t matter in this case. “This film wasn’t just relevant in 2012,” he presses. “It will be relevant forever. Rammstein is a timeless piece of art.”
Whether “Rammstein:Paris” will come out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the foreseeable future is anyone’s guess. But we do wonder if this piece wouldn’t make for a nice addition to the Berliners’ already impressive video collection.
Source: Sonic Seducer
Date: February, 2017
Author: Sascha Blach
Photo: Rammstein Gbr