(Romuald Karmakar; Germany; 2009)
An outright surprise. This is not merely a biographical document of DJ and composer Ricardo Villalobos, but a minimalist portrait of an artist who is thoroughly at home within his chosen passion, who calmly inhabits a world of sound. The film is book-ended with long passages of Villalobos DJ-ing in a huge, cavernous club, and despite the length of these sequences, watching him calmly search through records, seamlessly weave another strand or layer into his mix, and joyously dance to his own aural concoction is utterly captivating. But its when he's in the studio that the film really holds the attention, as Villalobos reveals his lightning-quick skills at assessing tracks for future club sessions, his close attention to detail and his vitality in remixing a track, and an incredible ability to delicately string the nature of acoustics, histories of sound recording, and philosophies of sound into long, cohesive, and richly engaging monologues. It is to the director's credit that he creates this film out of many long-takes, as it enhances the sensation that the subjects presentation of ideas and thoughts is not contrived or pretentious, but something that gently flows from him as he builds and builds on each thought. What we end up seeing in this film is not simply a DJ or a musician, but someone whose dedication to his profession is as natural as breathing.