By Audra Schroeder, Fri., April 24, 2009
Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback (Play Loud!)
German filmmakers Dietmar Post and Lucia Palacios spent several years tracking down and lovingly elevating the Monks from cult status, reading their story like the art project it really was. Black-and-white live footage and interviews with all five members, as well as Faust's Joachim Irmler and Throbbing Gristle's Genesis P-Orridge, bring into focus just what uncharted territory the Monks sound was. The relationship between the Monks and their managers is also given a fair amount of attention, amplifying the conceptual, experimental bent of the whole endeavor. The documentary is a bit unfocused in striving to be arty as well as narrative, but it manages to translate the sense of pride, as well as the uncomfortable feel of the reunion shows. The extra interview and banjo tutorial with Elvis obsessive Dave Day is a kick, and the footage of them doing "Monk Chant" live on German TV, four of the five Monks kneeling over a squealing guitar while teenagers in the crowd jerk awkwardly, is priceless.