A documentary can be a quite tough movie-subgenre from time to time, especially when it comes to capturing musical artists on a movie screen. Most die-hard fans – which is the main target audience – will already know most of the facts. So, one other achievement might be to get everybody else to understand the ways and beings of the documented band. Accomplish awareness for the work of the band – probably the greatest goal filmmakers can achieve. And it looks like Romi Agel and Holger Wick managed to do this perfectly by creating We Are Modeselektor – a movie about Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, their little dog Ilona and how friendship and love for music made MODESELEKTOR one of Germany’s most solid electronic music exports.
First thing you need to know – the author of this article is not a big MODESELEKTOR fan. And you don’t need to be one either to enjoy this movie and the two protagonists of it. Bronsert and Szary are very down to earth guys. Last night the film celebrated its premiere in Berlin, presented in cooperation with Electronic Beats. A big cinema, a lot of V.I.P.’s, guest list only, champagne and all the glamorous urban stuff you have in Berlin these days. And then there are these two guys, scuffling on stage in casual clothes before the movie starts. No speech, no big words, just a ‘thank you’ to the film makers. As eccentric and energetic these two lads are on stage – as down to earth are they aside of it. It’s a credo that runs through the whole duration of the 70 minutes long movie.
The enjoyable aspect of this film is the focus – it’s really not about big names, big achievements or the continuous celebration of themselves, the techno scene and everybody. It’s pretty much based on the friendship of these two very different characters that found together as techno lovers. There was never any plan, never a concept – MODESELEKTOR are basically illustrated as the logical consequence of Szary and Bronsert meeting as teenagers from small villages shortly after the collapse of the GDR. You can clearly sense that the mid-1990s must been a very exciting time for techno. Probably THE most exciting time. Records were rare, equipment was expensive but the creative freedom seemed endlessly. From abandoned factory basement raves in the province, to first club gigs in Berlin over ten years ago. Again, nothing is forced, everything seemed natural.
“We are all cooking our tea with the same hot water” says Bronset in one scene of the movie while sitting in an idyllic wooden cabin. Szary on the other side is shown as someone who’s working on his own house in his free time. Family is important, friendship as well. It’s always been the credo of MODESELEKTOR. The people they are working with are long-time buddies and reliable sources. The aspect that really fascinated about these two lads is the importance of an anchorage to the so-called real life. “These are the things that matter” says Bronset as he honestly tells about how his wife gives him hold besides the madness of the daily races in the music industry. He even gets nostalgic at one point when he’s reminiscing about the anarchic 90s rave days. These are moments of honest bliss that make you fall in love with these guys, no matter if you are a back MODESELEKTOR fan or not.
Before the movie started the duo addressed to Agel and Wick, thanked them and combined this with a specific wish. “We hope you got to capture the real ‘us’” – and after experiencing this terrific little documentary we can only answer this with a big ‘yes’. We Are Modeselektor is wonderful testament of a unique friendship and two musical companions who worked really hard and consequent for the success that they now have. Selling out shows, hanging around with RADIOHEAD’s Thom Yorke or running a successful label with Monkeytown Records – none of this came out of the blue. And that’s what the movie is about. Love, passion, honesty and a constant awareness of what really matters in life. We can’t guarantee that you become a MODESELEKTOR fan after watching this – and it actually doesn’t matter. You don’t need to since the message and topics are universal, no matter if you are a musician, writer, artist or just a regular office worker. And that’s the best compliment a filmmaker might get.
The DVD “We Are Modeselektor” will be released on May the 3rd via Monkeytown Records.