Opening September 28, 2017
Directed by: Stephan Plank, Reto Caduff
Writing credits: Reto Caduff, Stephank Plank, Ziska Riemann
Principal actors: Documentary with Stephan Plank, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox Dave Stewart, Gianna Nannini
In this straight-forward documentary, Stephan Plank presents the short life of his father Conny Plank, who was a major figure in the world of pop music in Germany in the 1970s and ‘80s. Stephan was 13 years old when his father died, and now, 25 years later, he has come to terms with his own life and proceeds to research and share the life of his father (whom he resembles in appearance). Conny Plank worked for the Saarländischer Rundfunk radio station as a DJ, and joined the West Deutscher Rundfunk radio station as sound technician. He then became an independent recorder of upcoming bands. We see many videos and photographs, and, especially, share many discussions and interviews with prominent (and not so prominent) musicians and music makers of that time: Ernst Brücher, Eberhard Kragemann, David Bowie, Nina Hagen, Hans-Joachim Rodelius, Ingo Krauss, Jaz Coleman, Karl Hyde, Arno Steffen, Gabi Delgack-López, Robert Görl, Brian Eno, David A. Stewart, Holger Czukay, Charlie Terstappen, Carmen Knoebel, Annette Humpe, Jalil Hutchins, Arno Steffen, David M. Allen, David Stubbs, Wolfgang Hirschmann, and many more. We hear, repeatedly, that Conny had a deep talent for identifying the emotions in music and being able to impress that feeling and that emotion on the listeners. He encouraged German musicians to go their own way outside of American or British influences.
Many of these artists were unfamiliar to me. I only recognized two songs: “Bello e impossibile” by Gianna Nannini and “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics. On the other hand my German colleagues reveled in reminiscing about their own younger years, and claimed that they recognized every song and every band (Kraftwerk, Scorpions, DAF, DEVO, Ultravox, The Cure, Cluster, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, Killing Joke, Freur Underworld, Whodunit, etc.). Perhaps German viewers will have similar impressions. Everyone else will definitely learn much about the art of recording music during an exciting era. Plank’s recording studio in his farm house in Wolperath near Cologne was so treasured that it was taken apart, piece by piece, and moved to London, after Plank’s sad death of lung cancer at just 47 years old. ( )