Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape | Chicago Reader

Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape

The compact cassette played a key role in the 1979 Iranian revolution, but you wouldn’t know that from watching this documentary. Zack Taylor and Georg Petzold’s meandering tribute leaves out many such important facts, largely dispensing with historical context (it doesn’t even mention tape trading in the early metal scene) in favor of poetic reminiscences about the outmoded format and artful shots of cassette hardware and innards. The movie basically rehashes every 2010s think piece on the resurgence of tapes, and most of the musicians who appear are white men—the brief interludes about hip-hop aren't enough to address the bias. If you're familiar with this kind of retro-obsessed music documentary, you're likely tired of hearing from, say, Henry Rollins; if you don't already know why Taylor and Petzold think you should find Rollins's opinion worthwhile, though, good luck figuring it out, because they don't bother explaining. The highlight is Dutch engineer Lou Ottens, now 91, who invented the compact cassette; the directors give him the space to show us his everyday life instead of simply having him repeat platitudes about his work. In English and subtitled Dutch.

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Cast information not available at this time.

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