Headspace

Filmed over the course of three years and in 10 countries, Jethro Senger's documentary about international techno/rave culture is a slick but shallow mix of trippy computer animation, footage of ecstatic crowds grooving to techno beats, and interviews of mind-boggling vapidity. The gist of dozens of interviews with ravers is that dance music is a lifestyle,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Filmed over the course of three years and in 10 countries, Jethro Senger's documentary about international techno/rave culture is a slick but shallow mix of trippy computer animation, footage of ecstatic crowds grooving to techno beats, and interviews of mind-boggling vapidity. The gist of dozens of interviews with ravers is that dance music is a lifestyle, the thudding backbeat echoes the pulse of the human heart, and the music is in tune to the rhythm of the universe. The scene is all about love and community and if you strung up enough speakers in a war zone and started playing hypnotic techno, soldiers would drop their weapons and surrender to the beat. To his credit, Senger isn't as naive (or perhaps as disingenuous) as his subjects, and after the first blissed-out half hour he allows hints of darkness to creep in via veteran scene-makers who lament that what was once a great coming together of the tribes is now tainted by black-out binge drinking, shady dealers peddling bad drugs, and kids whose primary interest is getting as messed up as possible. Senger regularly cuts to a carload of visibly drunk, drugged-out, vacant teenagers trying to find a moving dance party, and it's hard to imagine a better illustration of the old guard's point. But that point might be more compelling if the old guard didn't seem equally vacuous. The throbbing, insinuating soundtrack is terrific, and the animated interludes are a welcome respite from the blathering heads, but Senger's point, if he has one, is maddeningly unclear.

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