Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Johnny Greenwood, Gufran Ali, Shazib Ali
Spoilers Within: No
Originally posted 10th March 2016 on Letterboxd.
A brisk, sumptuous documentary that feels like it was almost made by chance were it not for the direction by the esteemed Paul Thomas Anderson, Junun puts us directly in the middle of a jam session of delightfully rustic music within the beautiful constructs of a 15th-century Indian fort.
Although Anderson and co. have principally created a travelogue of sorts (and the former having to forego using his usual filming equipment in favour of digital, including a drone!)* there’s something purely spiritual about the joys of discovering undiscovered sounds where international friendships are formed and fluent rhythms are born through these pitch-perfect musical collaborations.
In a microcosmic sense, Junun reminded me a lot of Ron Fricke’s awe-inspiring duo of Samsara and Baraka (two of the most relaxing films in the history of the medium), and if that’s all you can say about a 50-minute ‘travelogue’ from one of the best directors of all-time and the lead guitarist of one of the best bands of all-time, then that’s a very, very positive thing to say indeed.
*Tiny trivia: Much of Anderson’s filming equipment was seized by customs, forcing him and his team to make do with a small camcorder and a producer’s drone (for those tremendous aerial shots). If this wasn’t a sort of divine intervention for a film immersed in spirituality, I don’t know what is.