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Never Turn Your Back on Sparks

Monday, May 9, 2016 - 9:00pm
Community Partner(s)

Never Turn Your Back on Sparks

Pini Schatz | 
Israel |
 2014 | 
56 minutes

The hardcore devotees of Ron and Russell Mael, the indomitable duo who make up the American rock band Sparks, are the focus of this kooky, sweet music-travelogue. Dubbed the kings of social satire for more than four decades, Sparks’ eclectic sound is defined by Freddie Mercury-esque operatics that are the backbone of their epic, occasionally absurd, ballads that range from glam rock to disco to cabaret. Music critics dubbed their 1974 single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Most of Us” as one of the best pop songs ever written. Despite the critical love, the band never really captured mainstream attention. Instead, they gained a loyal cult following. A roster of modern rock gods including producer Tony Visconti, punk rock legend Jello Biafra, and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott praise the brilliance that is Sparks. But it’s the lesser-known die-hards who give this film its quixotic charm. Director Pini Schatz (who may be the biggest Sparks fan of all) does a superb job of capturing the beauty of obsession, while paying homage to one of the most adventurous bands of our time. Even those who are new to the club will leave this film on fire with Sparks love! -SC

Photo by Ohad Ezra-Yael

Preceded By
Tom Bogaert | 
Switzerland/Egypt |
 2015 | 
9 minutes

Jazz pioneer and philosopher Sun Ra had a deep fascination with outer space and ancient Egypt. Computer animation, archival footage, and music from Sun Ra are interwoven to create a recreation/celebration of his legendary visit to Egypt in 1971. The result is a film as far out as Sun Ra himself. -SC


Pini Schatz

Pini Schatz, the Head of programming of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, is a graduate of the Film and TV department of Tel Aviv University. ARTICLE 58/4, his first documentary film, was nominated to the Israeli Film Academy Awards in 1996, was selected to the official competitions of FIPA, Biarritz and Cinema Du Reel, Paris. The premiere screening of THE LIQUID OF LIFE (2008), his second film, took place at Haifa International Film Festival and won the International Documentary Film award at New York Independent Film Festival in 2010.