If you love music, if you've ever been passionate about something, or if you ever just wished you could be a fly on the wall, Rock Prophecies (presented by the Samsung Memoir™) will connect with you. I caught an advance screening of the documentary at a Capitol Records release party and left both inspired and enthralled. But don't just take my word for it. Directed by John Chester, the film has garnered audience awards at festivals in Maui, Dallas, and Nashville already this year. The film will screen at Hollywood's ArcLight Cinemas between August 7th and August 13th, before hitting more stops on the 2009 festival circuit.
What powers the film throughout are the photographs and amazing life experiences of Mr. Robert M. Knight. Robert was at the Capitol Records screening I attended, and after fielding questions from the crowd, then getting mobbed by admirers, he was kind enough to let me talk with him for a few minutes. On screen, in person, and during our subsequent taped interview, Robert's compelling photos and stories seem to have a way of creating a captive audience time and time again. As a rock photographer for the better part of five decades, the guy has collected a few good stories, to say the least. But there's an amazing amount of discretion and integrity on his part, with regard to the stories he won't tell, and the photos he won't sell. He's captured some of the earliest and most iconic images of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin, right up to current artists such as Green Day, Sick Puppies and Tyler Dow Bryant. As a result, the film is filled with amazing images, and the kind of stories you might actually wish were your own. But these aren't kiss and tell type stories. On the contrary, there's no real gossip in the movie. It becomes clear early on in the film, that the relationships he's built and kept with the musicians in his life depend upon a well developed trust.
That doesn't mean that the stories and photos on offer aren't the stuff of dreams though. Nowhere is that made more obvious than on the big screen, where Chester and co.help Robert's images take flight in mysterious ways. If you ever wished you could watch Jimi Hendrix play live, or just hang out with Led Zeppelin, before the rest of the world knew who they were, you might want to see this movie. The filmmakers do a great job of allowing the viewer to actually travel through the photographer's images in the film. As for how that part works, well, you'll just have to see the film to know what I'm talking about. The quality of the images, the mesmerizing movement through them, and the cinematography all combine to create a multilayered visual effect that is technically impressive. But it's Robert's life long love for the music, and his genuine excitement about the artists he photographs, that really provides the emotional uplift for the viewer. If it's been a while since you've seen a movie that inspires, this might be just the ticket for you, as it's worth the price of admission and then some.