Brass Unbound | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Brass Unbound 

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European colonizers brought brass-band music to Nepal, Suriname, Indonesia, and Ghana; this 1993 documentary presents the often amazing results of its subsequent transformations. The video eschews a rigid structure, simply presenting the music as deeply integrated into daily life in each place. Ambient traffic and industry noise blends with the sound of outdoor concerts; a long take from the point of view of a tuba on a roving vehicle suggests how music brings the town to life. Diverting details like a woman feeding animals during an outdoor concert bespeak director Johan van der Keuken's holistic nonhierarchical vision. In Dutch and assorted unidentified languages with subtitles. 105 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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