Anthony Seck’s Look at What the Light Did Now follows Feist’s process lovingly
You’d be mistaken in thinking that the only rock documentaries truly worth a viewing are those capturing artists at their most dysfunctional – Metallica’s psyhiatric meltdowns in Some Kind of Monster, or The Dandy Warhols vs. The Brian Jonestown Massacre in Dig! as just two recent examples that need to be seen to be believed. Anthony Seck’s visual Valentine to Feist, Look at What the Light Did Now, on the other hand, makes a strong, beautifully poetic claim for the absorbing power of simply watching a true artist hard at work.
Filmed during both the recording and subsequent touring of Feist’s world-wide hit album The Reminder, What the Light Did Now spends much of its time not focused strictly on the star performer herself, but rather on the support net and team of collaborators Feist has gathered around her. Surely Seck has created the sole rockumentary in existence where the live lighting team receives just as much camera time as the film’s primary subject, in the process acting as the central metaphor that moves the entire film forward.
Granted, there are no major revelations or Radiohead’s Meeting People is Easy-style borderline psychoses beyond the small reveals that Feist’s a little bit shy about getting her photo taken and isn’t all that fond of bright spotlights on-stage. But what What the Light Did Now does take unveil expertly is the sights and sounds of true talent at work. Whether tucked away in a gorgeous French villa studio near Paris (we watch as Feist records The Reminder stand-out ‘The Park’ in the cricket-croaking backyard) or whispering sweetly to a packed stadium of pin-drop silent believers, it’s all clearly done with the same dedication to detail and love for the art of songcraft. (Just wait for the sequence demonstrating a rapid-edit montage of just how many album art designs were tried then dropped before settling on the near-iconic shadow profile actually released).
That those involved in the Feist machine are just as absorbed and dedicated to their roles as she is – there’s never been a lighting director quite so happy, for one – is what makes their interview segments truly interesting and worthy of inclusion. These aren’t merely staff members there to collect a cheque at the end of the tour, nor are they starry-eyed fanboys/girls (a merch girl-turned-lighting assistant even asks if she has to refer to Feist as Feist or by her first name Leslie), but fellow artists all collected in the name of a common goal.
As a peek behind the curtain, Look at What the Light Did Now is a beautifully filmed, edited, and poetic tribute to one of Canada’s finest contributions to the international stage, as well as a beautiful call to teamwork and co-operation every bit as calming and composed as Feist’s music itself.