Kevin Ford and Carter Smith's documentary record of funk-punk-rock band Jane's Addiction's 1997 "Relapse Tour," their first live shows since a much-publicized 1991 break up, is a conventional but entertaining mix of performance and offstage footage. The film debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival in 1999, but wasn't released to select theaters and DVD until 2003. Three of the original band members — singer/songwriter Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins — reunited for the tour, with Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea filling the slot previously occupied by a revolving cast of bass players. The Relapse performances, as Ford and Smith's film handsomely documents, were designed to evoke an alternate world of blissed-out, shamanistic ambisexuality, buffed torsos segueing into sequined skirts, flower-bedecked pole dancers swaying ecstatically, tattoos, piercings and Farrell's technicolor-tinseled Buckwheat hairdo. And if the footage of the audiences sometimes looks like outtakes from a HELLRAISER film, the vibe is always mellow. The offstage material ranges from standard-issue backstage hustle and bustle to quieter moments during which band members and their entourage discuss a variety of topics. Most of them focus on the pressures of touring, which they clearly experience to various degrees; the exception is the voluble Farrell, who holds forth on everything from image, Judaism (he even discusses the Kaballah with a rabbi), sex in all its infinite variations and the color blue. Ford and Smith's least successful conceit involves Spike Lee's younger brother, actor Cinque, playing a documentary filmmaker unsuccessfully trying to make a movie about the band — it's a pointless diversion from the film's focus and it's not especially clever. Nevertheless, Jane's Addiction fans will welcome the film's extensive documentation of a series of intense and colorful shows.
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- Released: 1999
- Review: Kevin Ford and Carter Smith's documentary record of funk-punk-rock band Jane's Addiction's 1997 "Relapse Tour," their first live shows since a much-publicized 1991 break up, is a conventional but entertaining mix of performance and offstage footage. The fi… (more)