TIFF: Invasion of The Boss

Posted by · 12:05 pm · September 15th, 2010

How do you follow up a massively successful, iconic, generation-defining album like “Born to Run?”  How to even attempt to approach that level of stratospheric impact?  Well, Thom Zimny’s documentary “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” made its way to Toronto last night to help answer those questions, and I knew I could count on The Wrap’s Steve Pond to be there, front and center, with a hell of a breakdown of the event (which probably had the biggest draw of the fest), the screening and Springsteen’s onstage “Mavericks” discussion with Edward Norton.

Most fascinating is the fact that the conversation (naturally) dealt with the impact of cinema on Springsteen’s work.  “Martin Scorsese once said that the artist’s job is to get the audience to care about your obsessions,” he said.  He called the small-town America of the 1960s and the rumbling underneath which Bob Dylan bubbled to the surface “Lynchian.”  He counted the “dark, bloody” pictures of the 1970s as an influence, as well as the work of John Ford, and he outright called his albums “cinematic,” which is difficult to argue against.

And the obsession with detail in the meticulously crafted “Darkness,” conveyed in the film and discussed by Springsteen in the Q&A, seems to recall the tinkering of a filmmaker, late at night, hovering over the Avid and getting every frame just right.  And perhaps the most resonating quote: “Looking back, I can say maybe it should have been easier. But if it had been easier, it wouldn’t have been as hard. And hard was important.”

Pond goes on to offer his thoughts on the film, but I don’t want to mooch off his coverage any more than I already have here.  It’s an awesome four-page piece that deserves a look, whether you’re a fellow Bruce obsessive or not.

And I have to say, of all the premieres, all the pomp, all the circumstance of this festival, which frankly seems to be a bit of a bore this year (something I’ve been hearing from a few on the ground, as well), this is my biggest regret for opting out.  I’d have been there with bells on.  Lucky for us, a seasoned former Rolling Stone journalist was, too.  So give him a read.

“The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” premieres on HBO October 7.  Here is an excerpt from the film:

[Photo: The Wrap]

→ 5 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

5 responses so far

  • 1 9-15-2010 at 12:20 pm

    Mike_M said...

    Such a great album, wish I got that one at the shows that closed out Giants Stadium last year. Born in the USA was fun but Darkness is epic…

  • 2 9-16-2010 at 12:52 am

    the other mike said...

    gotta love Bruce, of course for the music, but also for just for how humble he is when a lot of greats of the past are really up themselves. Him and Stevie Wonder share that.

  • 3 9-16-2010 at 9:43 am

    Goodvibe61 said...

    Man, what I’d have given to attend this event.

  • 4 9-16-2010 at 2:52 pm

    Craig said...

    Bruce is a real idol for me. Born to Run is my favorite album ever, and Darkness is in my top ten, so I can’t wait to check out the documentary/box set.

  • 5 9-16-2010 at 4:01 pm

    Laser said...

    Fans hungry for additional Darkness-era material should check out The Light in Darkness, a book packed with never-before-published photographs and first-hand tales of Bruce’s legendary 1978 tour and the recording of Darkness on the Edge of Town. The limited-edition book brings together fans; music critics and professional photographers, providing a multi-perspective look at this classic Springsteen record.
    special offer for fans if you order a copy of The Light in Darkness during the Toronto International Film Festival, September 9-19, 2010.**

    To order the book, check out: TheLightinDarkness.com

    “The Light in Darkness is a spectacular addition to the Springsteen print library. The chronological presentation provides seamless narrative flow and the photos are just phenomenal. The book is the ultimate retrospective tour program. A rock and roll time capsule.”
    Jeff Blout BTX