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08 June 2008 @ 11:05 pm

COLDPLAY are secretly shooting a ground-breaking new video on a Dutch beach with top film producer ANTON CORBIJN.

He is the man responsible for the brilliant Bafta-winning movie, Control, about tragic IAN CURTIS from JOY DIVISION.

Anton has worked with CHRIS MARTIN and his bandmates on the video for their single Talk.

His new brief is to make the best music video ever.

And he has the CV to suggest he can, with JOHNNY CASH, DEPECHE MODE, U2 and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS among bands to have experienced his genius.

Chris said: “We’re trying an experiment with him.

“It could be a disaster, but it could be OK.”

04 April 2008 @ 09:36 am

Cultural Life: Anton Corbijn, director




Interview by Alice Jones
Friday, 4 April 2008




I see embarrassingly little because I'm constantly travelling, but I know what I'm looking forward to: There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it. I saw Eastern Promises. One of my all-time favourites is John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I also love the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski. Tarkovsky, Fellini, Jarmusch and early Scorsese definitely influenced my film-making, subconsciously. At the moment I'm watching movies by the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.


I'm in between homes, so everything is in storage, and because I don't have a record player, I'm not buying stuff. I do have an iPod but I don't enjoy listening to music through headphones, so don't use it often. I have a friend, Pierre Wind, who is a chef and can translate songs into meals. I suggested "Everybody's Talkin'" by Harry Nilsson, and he made a meal out of it, using computer technology. We played the song again and again during the meal. I keep listening to the Control soundtrack in my car [the film Corbijn directed], partly because I'm too lazy to change it. I hadn't listened to Joy Division for a while before I made the movie, and I enjoyed listening to them again.


I went to the opening of the Peter Doig show at Tate Britain, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen – fantastic. I like him a lot anyway; he's in my top five painters. I also saw the Antony Gormley show at the Hayward. I prefer painting, though; it has more influence on me.


I'm reading Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma. It's about Dutch society, leading up to and in the aftermath of the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh. But I tend to read scripts mainly.


Last time I was in Salzburg, I heard the Czech mezzo Magdalena Kozena sing. In Berlin, I saw Robert Wilson's version of Georg Büchner's Leonce und Lena. I enjoy the theatre but you need to plan to go – and I don't plan much.

'Control' is out now on DVD

21 March 2008 @ 09:06 am
Shooting Stars
By Kirill Galetski

Vladimir Filonov / MT
Anton Corbijn in Moscow on Thursday.

Anton Corbijn is something of a renaissance man. Having begun his career as a photographer, he has branched out into graphic design and directing music videos and feature films. Corbijn was in Moscow this week to present an exhibition of photos, titled "Four Perspectives of Anton Corbijn," which opens Friday at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition is part of the International Month of Photography in Moscow "Photobiennale-2008," which brings together the work of top international photographers -- including Ralph Gibson, Andreas Gursky and the legendary photographic cooperative "Magnum Photos" -- at locations across Moscow.

Corbijn was also in town to support the local release of his first feature film, "Control," an award-winning biographical drama about Ian Curtis, the iconic singer of British band Joy Division. Curtis killed himself in 1980 and the band split, leaving a legacy of subtle musical influence.

Corbijn, 52, was born in the small town of Strijen in the Netherlands. He started photographing musicians in 1972, using a grainy all-purpose black-and-white film called Tri-X. In 1979, enthralled by the innovative music emanating from England by bands such as Joy Division, he moved to across the Channel.


"In Holland, I'd reached the ceiling of what I thought I could do," he recalled in an interview this week. "The few times I'd been to England, the photographs were better than ones I had taken in Holland. I think that due to the intensity of the musicians in England, there was strength in the photographs."

Corbijn met Joy Division within two weeks of arriving. He went to their London concert at the Rainbow Theatre and met them backstage.

Anton Corbijn
Corbijn has photographed a number of stars of music and film, such as Johnny Depp.
They agreed to a photo shoot the next day. Corbijn chose the Lancaster Gate tube station near his home as a venue for the photos, one of which graces the cover of Joy Division's Peel Sessions album. He photographed the band from behind, descending a staircase. This unusual approach appealed to the band members.

"I remember that nobody wanted to publish the photographs, but the band really liked them," he said. "And of course, after Ian died, the pictures were in demand."

Despite not having these photos published initially, the work kicked off Corbijn's career, and he went on to photograph other bands. Corbijn said his relocation gave his photography a new audience, one which started a chain reaction of appreciation that eventually led him to shoot for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Details and Vogue. He has been fortunate to mostly shoot photos of people whose work he admires.

He worked with the likes of Depeche Mode and U2, both of which have engaged him regularly since the early 1980s a photographer, album cover designer and music video director. These long-standing rapports have been crucial to his success, he said. "I feel that [they] enable you to get to places other photographers can't."

The exhibition, spanning Corbijn's entire career and including 120 photographs, will showcase four different aspects of Corbijn's work -- gritty documentary shots, streamlined photos of stars, fictionalized paparazzi shots and self portraits of Corbijn dressed up as now-deceased rock stars.

Corbijn hopes that the four-part show will show him as more than rock photographer, as there are subjects who are not musicians.

"The exhibition is four different types of work, but in a way, it's a unit," Corbijn said, "If this is the cowboys' wagon, the Indians have encircled it and attacked it from four sides. It's four ways of looking at something that seems like the same thing."

"Four Perspectives of Anton Corbijn" (Chetyre Izmereniya Antona Corbaina) runs to May 4 at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, located at 25 Petrovka. Metro Chekhovskaya. Tel. 694-2890. www.mmoma.ru.

"Photobiennale-2008" runs to May 30 at locations across Moscow. www.photo-biennale.ru

13 March 2008 @ 09:26 pm
Sam Riley picks up the Empire Award for Best Newcomer:

Still hoping to find Anton's acceptance speech for the Best Soundtrack award, which was an absolute peach.
12 March 2008 @ 01:05 pm
Anton Corbijn sees the light
By Kristina Alda / Prague Daily Monitor / Published 12 March 2008
Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis as portrayed by actor Sam Riley is moody and intelligent.
Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis as portrayed by actor Sam Riley is moody and intelligent.
Anton Corbijn, a very tall man who has just a made a very beautiful film, is standing in the basement of one of Prague's smallest movie theatres, preparing to do the fourth in a series of interviews to promote Control, his first feature film. He's concerned about the darkness. "Light is very important," he says, gesturing at the dimly lit room. It's an appropriate comment from a photographer known for gritty black and white pictures of groups such as Joy Division, Depeche Mode and U2.


Light and shadow also play an important role in Control, an emotional rollercoaster of a film that tells the story of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division. Curtis took his own life in 1980 at age 23, after months of grappling with epilepsy, a broken-down marriage and the demands of sudden stardom.

Like much of Corbijn's photography, the black and white film is stark and moody and draws upon music as its main inspiration. But the Dutch photographer, who first shot Joy Division after coming to England in 1979, states emphatically that Control is not a "music film". It is, he says, a love story.

Partly based on the book Touching from a Distance by Deborah Curtis, the singer's widow, the film has been stockpiling awards (including Best Film from the London Critics' Circle, top honours at the British Independent Film Awards and a Special Mention at Cannes) since its release last year. In town to promote the film ahead of its Thursday release here, Corbijn sat down with the Prague Daily Monitor to talk about the filming process, music and his future plans.


Anton Corbijn says filming Control was a life-changing experience.
Anton Corbijn says filming Control was a life-changing experience.
What first drew you to Joy Division's music, and under what circumstances did you begin listening to them?
When the punk period started I didn't really know what to make of punk as a person. I was too shy to become a punk. But when postpunk came afterwards, that period was much closer to my heart, and Joy Division was part of that. Tony Wilson had this beautiful quote about punk and postpunk. He said punk attitude was "Fuck you" and postpunk attitude was "I'm fucked". And I felt like that. In Joy Division's music you could feel the despair, the isolation in the cities and how you feel you don't belong anywhere. For me it was that zeitgeist summed up in their music. Plus now you can see there was an incredible poet at work there, and that's why this music is still so good. Their lyrics give it that something extra that makes them stand out from anybody else from that period. I don't think there's an equivalent to Ian Curtis today.


You mentioned that you never had a proper conversation with Ian Curtis, but what impression did you have when you met him in 1979?
He seemed like a very decent, nice guy. A bit shyish. I didn't feel like he was the loudmouth of the band. So it was a bit of a surprise when you read Debbie's book and you think, oh, he was a bastard. He was just not very nice sometimes. And that was kind of confusing, so in the film you see he's not always that nice, but you still feel for him, what he goes through. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that Sam Riley managed to play him so well, kept feeling for him.

It seems that even audiences who know nothing about Joy Division will walk away moved, simply because of the story. How were you able to achieve that?
There is something in the film besides the music. There are many elements that connect to other people's lives. And the music is so beautiful and strong. The actors were great. I can't think of anybody I'd like to replace. Toby Kebbell, who plays [Joy Division manager] Rob Gretton, is fantastic. The whole band was spot on. Samantha Morton was amazing. In England you have this incredible acting talent that's very different than Dutch acting. [England is] a literary country, not a visual country. Dutch people want you to know how they really feel. The English – they act a bit when they tell something. The way they say things is maybe more important than that they let you know how they really feel.

Do you think your career would have been very different if it hadn't been for Joy Division?
It would have been very different if I hadn't moved to England, [and] I moved there because of them. It opened my work to a whole different audience. And now making a film so many years later – again, it's a life-changing experience. Because now I will make another film. Before I thought I would just make one film and then go back to photography. It really changed how I look at everything and also how I look at my photography. I now feel more distance from it. And it's very exciting to see something from a distance because you can judge it better. I will do photography again. I want to do exhibitions at the end of next year or 2010. But it's really beautiful to have this adventure suddenly. In photography I know what I'm doing. In film, not so well yet.

Why was now the right time to make the film? Was it that you were simply in that right moment in your life?
It's organic, I think. For many years I thought I wanted to make a film but until now didn't feel like I was the right guy to do it. Because I have no education in any of this. If you take a picture, you can get away with murder because you do it on your own, because it doesn't involve lots of money and lots of people. If you make a film, you better know what you're doing. So I was very nervous about all the scripts I read because I felt there must be lots of directors who could do a much better job. Whereas with this story, I felt that maybe I was the right guy because I had worked with Joy Division and I had emotions there because that had changed my life. So I felt any lack of filmmaking skills will be compensated [for] by these emotions.

To what extent did it help that you were a genuine Joy Division fan, and to what extent did that put extra pressure on you?
The fact that I met Ian Curtis generated my interest in making this film, but it also helped that I didn't know him too well. If you're too close to something it might be very hard to approach it as a film subject. I knew just enough to be able to make the film objectively. I'm always fighting these labels of rock photography or music film because it narrows the audience, but I'm not ashamed to say that music was the source of a lot of things I did.


29 February 2008 @ 10:58 pm
Joy Division director says thanks after Shockwaves NME Award

Feb 29, 2008
NME Awards news, reviews, video and tour dates
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’Control’ director Anton Corbijn has admitted to being completely stunned by the reaction to his Joy Division biopic.

Picking up the Shockwaves NME Award for Best Film yesterday (February 28) at the ceremony in London the legendary photographer said he had been “naïve” about the film industry, but was very pleased with the reaction to his movie.

“I made the film without thinking, because I was naive about the film industry. This is nice you can do this with your first film, it’s going to be harder for the second one as everything is a surprise first time around,” he told NME.COM.

He added: “It’s beautiful to have been able to make something that stays in people’s hearts. It’s an incredible feeling. I honestly didn’t expect the reaction the film has got… I’d hoped people would want to see the film but I always aimed to make a proper film, not just a music film. I tried to make a film with a broader theme, a more universal theme but you would have great music in the film. So I think that my movie connected with people.”

Corbijn who was an NME photographer during the 1980s, also paid tribute to the magazine and its readers for voting for him.

“For me NME was a very big thing. When I first came to the United Kingdom I started taking pictures for them and I became their main photographer for five years, and that’s really been the basis of everything I’ve been doing since,” he explained. “We did fall out – different times, different people – but I feel very loved by the NME at the moment. The paper has a really good attitude and the fact it was voted for by the readers really means a lot to me.”
10 February 2008 @ 09:28 pm
"Control" writer Matt Greenhalgh picked up the Carl Foreman award for special achievement by a British director, writer or producer in their first feature film, at this evening's Bafta awards.

Anton, Sam and Samantha just missed out on a handful of other awards - Best British Film went to "This is England", Supporting Actress to Tilda Swinton for her role in "Michael Clayton" and and The Orange Rising Star award, voted for by the public, went to Shia LaBeouf.

Congratulations to all the winners, but in particular to Greenhalgh, who has secured one of Control's most prestigious gongs to date.

A full list of winners/nominees can be viewed here.
24 January 2008 @ 10:41 am
One of the coolest films of 2007, Anton Corbijn’s CONTROL is set for DVD release on 11 Feb 2008. To date, CONTROL has collected a wonderful rosta of awards, including:

British Independent Film Awards:
Best Film, Best Actor (Sam Riley)
Best Debut Director (Anton Corbijn)
Best Director (Anton Corbijn)
Best Supporting Actor (Toby Kebbell)
Michael Powell Award for Best New British Film (Anton Corbijn)

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2007:
Best New British Feature (Anton Corbijn)
Best Performance in a British Film Award (Sam Riley)

In addition, CONTROL can look forward to more success following numerous further nominations, including;
Evening Standard British Film Awards nominations (ceremony 3 February 2008):
Best Film – Anton Corbijn
Best Actor – Sam Riley
Best Actress – Samantha Morton
Best Screenplay – Matt Greenhalgh

London Film Critics’ Circle Award nominations (ceremony 8 February):
British Film of the Year
British Director of the Year – Anton Corbijn
British Actor of the Year – Sam Riley
British Actress of the Year – Samantha Morton
British Breakthrough/Acting – Sam Riley
British Breakthrough/Filmmaking – Anton Corbijn
British Breakthrough/Filmmaking – Matt Greenhalgh
British Supporting Actor of the Year – Toby Kebbell

Orange British Academy Film Awards (ceremony 10 February 2008):
Best British Film – Orian Williams/Todd Eckert/Anton Corbijn/Matt Greenhalgh
The Carl Foreman Award – Matt Greenhalgh – writer
Supporting Actress – Samantha Morton

Sam Riley is also a nominee of the publicly-voted Orange Rising Star Award, honouring the breakthrough of up and coming stars of tomorrow.
22 January 2008 @ 09:21 pm
Only a photographer with a keen eye would have been able to notice anything amiss. Seconds into the Jerusalem Cinematheque's Friday screening of his new film Control - based on the life of Ian Curtis, the iconic singer for late 70s British post-punk cult figures Joy Division - director Anton Corbijn doesn't like what he sees.

'Control,' the film based on the life of iconic singer Ian Curtis, is shown in black-and-white to 'capture the band's mood.'

As he exits the back of the theater for his scheduled interview, the 52-year-old native of Holland apologizes and says he first needs to run up to the projector booth. Returning minutes later and settling into a corner of the theater's library, the acclaimed photographer, music video director and now first-time film director is calmer. "It's a color copy of the film [which is in black and white]," explains the tall and thin soft-spoken director in fluent but broadly accented English.

He's dressed stylishly in black, but despite the visual flair, he doesn't carry any show biz affectations. "The problem is that it's a little too bright, and there's a frame around it in black."

The frame wasn't meant to be there, so Corbijn asked the man in the projection room to fix the problem. He couldn't, "so I just told him to turn up the volume so people wouldn't notice it," he says with a chuckle.

Leave it to Corbijn to find a connection between the audio and the visual. He's been doing it for four decades, since he embraced the worlds of photography and music as a teen in Strijen, the Netherlands.

"Music was my big love," he says. "Just by accident, I took my father's camera to an outdoor concert because I was so shy and I didn't dare to go on my own without anything. So I thought if I had a camera in my hand, people would think I had a purpose.

"Then I took a few pictures and sent them to a magazine, and they published them. So I realized, 'Wow, I can go to concerts and I have something to do.' I felt that I was looking for a sense of belonging, and the camera gave that to me."

CORBIJN BECAME a well-known music photographer in Holland, working for the country's largest music magazine and shooting album covers.

But his raw, often black-and-white grainy prints didn't sit well with everyone.

"I hit a bit of a brick wall in Holland, because a lot of people said I couldn't take pictures. So in my mind, I was thinking about what to do with my life, and then this album came along."

The album in question was Unknown Pleasures, the 1979 debut effort by Joy Division, then aspiring unknowns of the British post-punk scene in the late 70s.

"Visually, it had mystery to it. The album sleeve was just black, with white lines," says Corbijn, still speaking passionately about the album 30 years later. "And the music, even though I couldn't speak English very well at the time - you could sense it was about despair, about important issues, about weighty things."

Ignited by the music, Corbijn decided to do something about it. Only weeks after hearing Unknown Pleasures, he moved to London.

"You have to see it in the light of the 70s, when music played a very dominant role in peoples' lives - especially in my life. So to base moving countries on music is slightly more understandable in that context. Still, England was very far away from Holland in the 70s; the world was a much bigger place, so it still felt like an incredible move," he says.

WITHIN TWO weeks of his arrival, he had already met the band and done a photo shoot for them, which resulted in their still most identifiable portrait - the quartet walking down the stairs of a Tube entrance with only Curtis glancing behind him at the camera.

"It's a funny thing that in a very short time you can take a photograph and the picture becomes very well known. People then assume you spent a lot of time with the subject, but it was really not the case," reflects Corbijn. "That shoot took maybe 10 minutes. My English wasn't good enough, and I was too shy to start a conversation."

While Corbijn may not have expressed himself verbally, his photographs quickly began saying a lot. He became a regular photographer for the British music paper of record New Musical Express, and soon developed into an international star photographer for Spin, Details, Vogue and Rolling Stone.

By the mid-80s, he had branched out into directing music videos with the same stylistic adventure he brought to his photographs. With over 80 music videos to his credit, he's been behind the concepts for some of the most striking videos of the MTV era, including many early U2 and Depeche Mode clips, the award-winning video for Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" in 1993, and more recent clips by The Killers and Coldplay.

BUT THE music of Joy Division and the haunting story of Ian Curtis, who took his own life in 1980 at 23, continued to be an obsession for Corbijn. Although he had regularly been offered movie scripts to direct over the years, he rejected all of them until Control, based on the book Touching From A Distance by Curtis's widow Deborah, was submitted to him.

"I initially said no, because I was afraid that if I made this film, people would call it a rock film. It's a love story, and you really kill off a potential audience by labeling it a rock film," says Corbijn. "Half a year later, though, I decided to do it, because it was such an important part of my life and I wanted to stop basing my work on obsessions from my teenage years. So I thought that this film could capture all that and end that period so I could start something new," says Corbijn.

Corbijn self-financed the film initially because he couldn't find any backing.

"A black and white film [to capture the band's mood] about somebody committing suicide with a first-time actor [Sam Riley] and first time director didn't seem to be too appealing," chuckles Corbijn. "I really wanted to make the film so I financed it for three months, then we cut a production deal. I haven't gotten my money back yet."

THAT MAY soon change, however. Debuting in May 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival, Control has received rave reviews and awards at film festivals.

It's currently being screened locally as part of the British Film Festival sponsored by the British Council of Israel.

Upcoming showings are at the Haifa Cinematheque on January 23 and a repeat performance at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on the 26th. Control will be released in general cinemas next month.

"It's about a boy between the age of 17 and 23 who had a dream and chased the dream, and how it ended for him as somewhat more of a nightmare," Corbijn told the Jerusalem audience during his introduction of the film.

With the experience of Control behind him, along with a sense of exorcising his Joy Division past, Corbijn feels ready to move on to other directing projects.

"All these years, I got scripts but I never thought I was the best guy to make this kind of film. Directors study films, and I had never done that. I haven't even seen that many films in my life," he explains.

"With this story, however, I felt connected, so I felt that I could possibly be the guy to make this film. I've learned so much that I feel that I could possibly make a film that I'm not so emotionally connected to. And now, with a track record and people willing to finance it, I can focus on being a director."

Also, according to the NME, Anton will be signing dvd copies of Control, as well as copies of his new book "In Control" from 6pm on February 11th, at the Oxford Street branch of HMV.