1h 25m | Directed by Johanna St. Michaels | USA | Documentary, music
Matt Johnson of the English band The The has remained silent as a singer/songwriter for more than 15 years. Now he attempts to challenge contemporary politics through his own live 12-hour radio broadcast. But sudden grief and a request to write a new song reveal old demons of inertia and bereavement.
Conflicted by creative inertia, Johnson has observed from the sidelines whilst corporate state propaganda has swamped the cultural airwaves. To try and purge his feelings of disenchantment, and attempt to relocate his mojo and muse, Johnson decides to challenge the narrow media consensus through his own radio broadcast. A long-term listener
of shortwave radio, he launches Radio Cineola, his conceptual version of this romantic medium, via a live midday to midnight marathon.
The show includes live music and poetry, and also interviews and discussion about where local, national and international democracy now stands in the 21st Century, with guests ranging from geo-political analysts to local activists, from students of mind control to semiotics experts, from teachers to healers. But a promise to the director of the documentary, his ex-partner Johanna St Michaels, to write a new song for the broadcast stirs up old demons of inertia and bereavement.
(c) Saint Michaels Production
Captured at a pivotal point in [Matt Johnson’s creative life, The Inertia Variations is an endearingly candid picture of this extraordinary British artist, and with the enigmatic Johnson valiantly exposing his heart on his sleeve, [director Johanna] St Michaels has turned his hesitation at the artistic crossroads into a compelling work of conceptual art in its own right.
Niall Greig Fulton | Edinburgh International Film Festival