Originally compiled by Johann Haidenbauer; other comments from the newsgroup; updated by Tom Boon with help from Robert Phan July 02004; updated by Tom Boon September 02020.
You will be able to find many of the documentaries and out-of-print works by searching on YouTube or Vimeo. The films are mostly on DVD or download/streaming services. We don't provide links because things may get moved or removed or improved, and then the links get broken.
Spoiler alert: In writing about films we may describe storylines or events. Please do not read if you want to enjoy the stories unspoilt.
14 Video Paintings
2005 DVD compilation of Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan and Thursday Afternoon, two video artworks originally released on VHS videotape by Hendring in the UK and later on laserdisc. Out of print.
During the 1980s Brian created several video installations. In a reaction against the fast-cutting pop video culture, he concentrated on slow-moving subjects such as skylines and buildings. He was aided and abetted in this aim by a video camera that he bought from a furtive roadie for the band Foreigner who rushed into a studio where he was working. Occasionally the story was that the camera was left behind in an apartment he moved into, or he bought it from somebody who rushed into a store he was in.
The camera produced an odd slightly impressionistic video image, and as Brian liked the effects of unexpected technical accidents, he kept using it. When making skyline recordings from his 13th-floor apartment Brian laid the camera on its side on the window-sill because he did not have a tripod, which meant that when the video was played back the viewer had to turn their television on its side (probably not something that can be done easily with 21st Century flat-screen systems). Some of Brian's installations used multiple screens side by side, others had the television screen incorporated in a table-top so viewers looked down on it.
The DVD offers landscape and portrait orientations of the videos. On the first pressing of the UK edition there was a mastering error that put the Thursday Afternoon soundtrack on one of the orientations of Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan. The booklet was put together by Tom Boon using EnoWeb's collection of online & offline interview materials. Tom says: "I liked the idea of a Director's Commentary for these videos. I imagined Brian sitting in an editing suite somewhere, reminiscing about high jinks on set and the difficulties of getting the clouds to perform on cue."
As is inevitable, there were cuts to the booklet text; EnoWeb is happy to offer you two exclusive deleted scenes that didn't make it to the final released version. They are quotes from the Music & Media interview conducted on 7th October 2004 (hence the 6 note).
The following notes refer to the videos, but they are equally relevant to the DVD.
Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan
An ambient video by Brian Eno. MMoMM has the Manhattan skyline as its subject, also with processing.
47 min. colour vertical format video stereo music. Filmed by Brian Eno in New York, 1980-81. Originally treated and assembled in New York and Toronto by B. Eno, for exhibition only. Re-assembled at London in Sept. 1987. All Music by Brian Eno. An OPAL Production.
[...] "The pieces in "Mistaken Memories Of Mediaeval Manhattan" are long continuous shots of the Manhattan skyline, and what movement there is in them is not under my control: drifting clouds, rain, smoke, fleeting light and shadows, birds, aircraft." [...] Brian Eno, 1981
Music comes from On Land and Music for Airports, plus one other unreleased track. The combination of On Land music and New York skyline doesn't quite work for EnoWeb, but it gives an interesting insight into Brian's state of mind at the time.
Contents: DAWN, MENACE, TOWERS, LIGHTS, EMPIRE, APPEARANCE, LAFAYETTE
We have 2 time-lapse .gifs which give an impression of the subject matter and its treatment, although not the slow-moving speed of the video. Here (133K) and here (270K), opening in separate browser windows.
Seven Video Paintings of Christine Alicino. Vertical Format video. Filmed in San Francisco in April 1984. Treated and Assembled at Sony in Tokyo. Copyright OPAL LTD. Recorded at Dan Lanois' studio in Canada. Produced by Brian Eno and Dan Lanois. 82 minutes. Color.
Thursday Afternoon was first released in Japan by Sony in 1984 (I think - check out my discography). Besides being on video it was also issued as a Laser Disc. The next (and presumably first in Europe) issue was by Edition Markgraph here in Germany. Then came the Hendring release in UK.
The 12 certificate for the DVD appears to be because the video displays Christine Alicino's breasts.
We have 3 time-lapse .gifs which give an impression of the subject matter and its treatment, although not the slow-moving speed of the video. Here (97K), here (99K) and here (249K), opening in separate browser windows.
For completeness' sake, we should mention that the Hendring series of releases included a third videotape:
The Khumba Mela (same as it ever was)
By Albert Falzon, 1982, with music from the Eno brothers and Harold Budd, from The Pearl and On Land. No unreleased music and no active input from Brian as far as we could see. This has a nice dream-like atmosphere. It was filmed in India through waterways of Kashmir using a fisheye lens. Or maybe an anamorphic lens. No anaconda though. Or Anabaptist. Unless they were anonymous. Catalog number: HEN 2135
For many years, Brian set up installations that used multiple slide projectors to combine several images into one, gradually fading in and out. These were accompanied by ambient music. Eventually computer technology developed enough to allow this experience to be run on a standard home PC or Mac, and the 77 Million Paintings program was released. It went out of print. Several 77 Million Paintings installations have been set up across the world: Japan, Italy, Britain and the US. It's well worth seeing with large plasma screens if you can, but still very satisfying to watch at home... once you get used to not expecting too much to "happen".
Future Shock (VHS video)
A collection of videos with music by artists such as The Grid, Future Sound Of London, Brian etc. There is a video accompanied by Brian's piece "Fractal Zoom", but the video isn't really very interesting. Looked like an art student's project.
A 40 minute video documentary on Brian Eno featuring interviews with Brian Eno, with much ambient music used in the soundtrack (some unreleased).
Danny Hole writes: just thought i'd tell you early roxy footage w/eno filmed in germany for the tv show Musikladen,can be found on dvd, coupled with t.rex footage from similar period. The footage is excellent and the audio amazing... tower records sell it (u.s.) [EnoWeb adds: I've seen it at HMV in the UK... hold on, that sounds like a Sex Pistols title...]
Lise Alper writes: I thought I'd give you a little more info on the MusikLaden DVD which is briefly mentioned on your site. It's truly an excellent live performance of Roxy Music ca.72/73. Here is the set list:
Do the Strand
Editions of You
In Every Dreamhome There is a Heartache
All I Want is You (this one is post Eno Roxy, & not particularly interesting)
In Every Dreamhome... has some footage I found very interesting; Eno is apparently manipulating the guitar sound via reel-to-reel recorders to create a delay/flange effect in tandem with a cleaner guitar signal. As an old analog studio hand, I found this fascinating! The vintage synths played by Eno & the sax player are also of interest. Anyway, the sound of this DVD is very good considering its source; it's only stereo, but it's very clean with no audience noise or tape hiss. The picture is much better than might be expected from 30 year old video stock. This is DEFINITELY highly recommended for fans of early Eno & glam in general.
Mythological Lands series -- Symbols from the Magic Drum etc
Hendring's Mythological Lands series of videos appears to have been an attempt to produce other "ambient videos" for the same niche market as Brian Eno's videos. At the time, video in the UK was beginning to be well-established, the economy was booming and the scene was set for stressed Yuppies to need a new form of relaxation. Unfortunately the films ran into contractual difficulties, as they were marketed rather strongly on the musical names supplying the music (Brian Eno, Enya, Jon Hassell and Peter Gabriel). Nobody had told the artists concerned that their names were going to be used like this and most of the videos should have been recalled from sale.
Symbols from the Magic Drum by David Bickley is a film of Lapland from 1990 (45 minutes long). The soundtrack has previously released music by Brian Eno, mainly from On Land.
DVD chronicling the making of Herbie Hancock's CD Possibilities, with stuff about Herbie's life. Includes a very brief brief excerpt of a recording session with Brian that didn't make it to the album.
Roxy Music: The Thrill Of It All - A Visual History 1972-1982
Released in 2007, this is aDVD collecting lots of performances from Roxy Music, including rare footage from Brian's time with the group.
Roxy Music Total Recall: A History 1972-1982
Donna Walker says: I have a tape called Total Recall, A History 1972-1982, Virgin Music Video, catalog no. 3-50154, copyright 1990.
Russell C. Schaffer expounds: The EnoWeb made a reference to wanting to know more about early Roxy Music film footage and I have a Roxy tape with loads of Eno. It shows him in feather boas and ostrich plumes dancing, playing his synth, twiddling knobs, running tapes, singing backing vocals etc. on all the best songs from the first album and For Your Pleasure. Some of the songs are performed live on British and German TV, some of the footage is from concerts (one concert has a close-up profile shot of Eno singing with Ferry off in the distance trying to grab attention, at this particular concert Eno's fingernails are painted gold). But the real gem of the video is the brief but precious footage of the Here Come the Warm Jets sessions. The clip included in the video is Brian playing guitar (this time with black fingernails) on Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch. Phil Manzanera can also be seen as can the bass player. There also are rare photos of Eno peforming live Baby's on Fire with the 801 band. The name of the video is Roxy Music Total Recall: A History 1972-1982, copyright 1989 and was distributed by Virgin Music Video... The video is actually what turned me on to Eno after I quite accidently stumbled on to it.
EnoWeb adds: There is also a Roxy performance on the BBC DVD of The Old Grey Whistle Test.
The Unforgettable Fire (A U2 Documentary)
Speaking about Eno's appearances on videos one should not forget U2's documentary 'THE UNFORGETABLE FIRE'. Also there one can spot occasionally our smiling Ben O'Rian behind the huge mixing desk.
Two Moon July
A laserdisc and video (often bootlegged on eBay) of 1980s performances from The Kitchen by artists such as Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass. Brian's video installations make some kind of appearance.
Words For the Dying
John Cale's label hired director Rob Nillson to do a video documentary on the making of Cale's Words For the Dying lp, which was produced by Brian Eno using a Russian symphony orchestra. Eno apparently hadn't been notified of the plans to film and refused to allow Nillson to shoot him (Eno) at work, other than filming his hands. Nillson took this as a challenge and kept trying to sneak the camera into the studio or to catch Eno on videotape. The result is odd, as it's hard to show the making of a project when one can't film the actual process of making it. There are some very sensitive moments with Cale and his mother, and Cale confronted by a video of his fans and their opinions of him. Not currently available.
A 20-minute documentary on Brian broadcast on UK Channel 4 in September 01999. It included interviews with Edge & Bono, David Toop and others, plus speeded-up film of Brian's normally slow-moving light sculptures (if they were going to speed the sculptures up, they missed a trick in not adding Benny Hill music, in EnoWeb's opinion).
A 24 minute documentary directed by Alfons Sinniger UK, 1974, about Brian Eno (what, with a title like that? Talk about misleading...). Features the songs Re-make/Re-model, The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch, Needles in the Camel's Eye, Blank Frank. Starring Brian Eno, Chris Spedding, Phil Manzanera, Marty Simon. The Paw-Paw footage from the Roxy Music Total Recall video comes from this source, as do snippets that crop up on television programmes such as Arena and The Tube's More Dark Than Shark feature.
China My China
No idea if this is in the same film, but in an interview with Literature, October 2001, Judy Nylon says: "Somewhere in the vaults at Island [Records], there is an early seventies video of me and Polly Eltes performing my guitar Kama Sutra (cheesy moves from arena rock), edited to the typewriter sound on Taking Tiger Mountain, then played back on a pyramid of old TV sets with Eno in a beret standing in front singing his vocal. This was pre-MTV. I would love to see it again; it must be hilarious."
The New World According To Brian Eno
A 1999 documentary made by VPRO in the Netherlands (the Holland Festival that year had an extensive Eno component). Partly filmed by Brian at U2's studios.
From Opal Information no. 23: Jerome Lefdup, the film-maker and animator who made the video for Brian Eno's single Ali Click is making a short film about Brian for Canal+ France. Entitled One Eno, it will be shown as part of their arts and music series L'oeil du Cyclone'. The film will take an oblique look at Brian's career - it will definitely not be conventional 'potted history', a collage might be a better description. One Eno is scheduled for broadcast in late May (1993). We hope the film will be shown in other countries in the near future.
Not quite sure if this belongs here, but it's a scratchy RealVideo sequence of scenes filmed during the recording of 1.Outside (David Bowie likes to record everything). You can see Brian and the gang playing, recording and discussing the album, which was still in its freely improvised state prior to the intervention of music company suits who were concerned that it would not be commercial enough.
Solo für Eno
A German film (in English) by Henning Lohner from around 1992 which EnoWeb saw with a French commentary. Remarkable for the sequence when Brian makes a floppy rubber loudspeaker and then blows up his amplifier. Also for the sequence when he is asked to read out various quotes and has to do it in various vocal styles to give it any conviction. And for the part where the film-crew ask him if he can recommend any special sights in London to visit and he suggests the local fetish shop.
The Thing Is... An Interview
Paul Morley interviews Brian Eno in this Channel 4 programme from the early 90s. Other subjects in Paul's "The Thing Is" series included driving. The programme encouraged many previous non-likers of Paul Morley to reassess their opinion of him.
Accelerator, by Vinny Murphy, 2001
A yarn about TWOCing joy-riders from north and south of the Irish border who decide to steal some cars and race them from Belfast to Dublin. Unfortunately for them they have encounters with sectarian violence, the police, the British Army etc. Brian contributed 3 pieces to the soundtrack, only one of which was included on the accompanying soundtrack album. The movie appeared on rental video in Ireland and was released on Region 2 DVD in the Netherlands/Belgium, but not elsewhere as far as we can make out. Not sure why.
"On a distant planet [Alraa] in the not-too-distant future, an anthropology lecturer [at the Centre for Intergalactic Studies, University of Tenseelon, voiced by Mark Rylance] coolly examines the Earth people before their self-destruction [In 2008 EnoWeb wrote: "It was human-induced climate change and a spate of nuclear weapon exchanges that did for us in 2025, apparently. Which is rubbish, everyone knows the chaos really kicks off in 2016." Which is either alarmingly prescient, or a lucky guess, or acknowledgeing that you can draw a line from any one set of events to something they may have caused without needing any basis in truth]. Through his diverse collection of images, both trivial and evocative, he pieces together a compelling, often disturbing, account of what life on Earth must have been like." Includes original music by Brian and the first instance of the hilarious pun "mass debate" EnoWeb had heard for many, many decades. 16 minutes. Out of print, we assume.
The Beach/28 Days Later
Danny Boyle directs these two entirely different stories written by Alex Garland. A young man separated from the rest of society (because he's on a backpacking tour/uninfected by a virus) meets a character whose role is to give him a lead-in to the story before meeting a violent end. Our hero then teams up with a small group of people who discover that there is a place they have to get to (beach/safe community). After a few events and drug use they reach their destination. The young man is initially on reasonable terms with the community leader but all is not well within the community; the leader's sanity is questionable and they fall out. The young man is expelled from the community and goes a bit crazy in the woods. He becomes a murderer and the community is disrupted and destroyed. The films end with an image of hope and togetherness. EnoWeb reckons both films are well worth seeing, especially for recycling enthusiasts. Well directed, well acted, good soundtrack and so on. Eno music content: The Beach - a cover version of "Spinning Away"; 28 Days Later - "An Ending: Ascent" from Apollo. (Thanks to Henry G. Lampman, David Shibler, Jon Kerr, Daz Craven, a boy called floyd, Simon Buckley, Matt Lairsey)
Alistair Macinnes writes: I was wondering why Berlin Horse isn't mentioned on your pages. It is a short film that was shown on Channel 4?? (I think) in the early nineties and the music is by Brian Eno. I looked it up on the Internet but I couldn't find much about it apart from that it was directed by Malcolm Legrice in 1970 and it is 7 minutes long. It is a loop film of a horse running out of a barn. Are you aware of this film and, if so, do you know of its availability?
EnoWeb responds: No. The only additional information we could find on the Net is that the film is intended to be projected onto two screens side by side simultaneously. Maybe the idea is that it would slowly slip out of sync? Anyway, all this was news to us as we had always been told Berlin Horse was a radio programme, so you live and learn. The film is obviously of major significance to Enologists as presumably it features Brian's first music released in any form.
Update: In 2002 we were contacted by Malcolm Le Grice, who had this to say:
"I completed Berlin Horse in 1970 - yes it is for projection on two screens side by side when this is possible. Brian Eno saw an early version of it in 1969 together with a number of my other films (like Reign of the Vampire) - at the Whitechael Art Gallery in London - where I had explored developing loop structures in both image and sound. Brian found the structures I was using interesting and like some music structures he was exploring at the time. He suggested I might like him to make a track for one of my films - I was not happy with the early track I had made for Berlin Horse so took up the offer for that film. He sent me a tape with two pieces and I selected one. I thought the initial tape had been lost after transferring to film but I recently found it deep in my film archive.
Berlin Horse has been in regular distribution since through Lux distribution UK and Light Cone in France - it has been shown on UK TV on a few occasions. It was also projected when I contributed to the visuals for the Fripp & Eno concert at the London Paladium in 1974(?).
I continue to work as a film/video artist and was recently included in the Tate Modern show Shoot Shoot Shoot curated by Mark Webber (Pulp). I also publish on experimental film history and theory. If you are interested you will find more information about my work here."
Berlin Horse is included on the DVD Afterimages
1: Malcolm Le Grice Volume 1 although this is "only available
to colleges and libraries for class room use, and ... not for individual purchase".
At £100 + VAT & postage it might be a little out of the range of the
casual purchaser anyway...
Clean, Olivier Assayas, 2003/4
An anonymous viewer who saw this in Cannes told EnoWeb: "Eno's music is used so beautifully - not like some semi-mysterious, darkly tinted background, which is the way his music is often used in movies, but as a kind of redemptive aura around Maggie Cheung's character, and around her little boy. If I remember correctly, the tracks used are: The Lost Day, An Ending, Stars, Spider and I, Taking Tiger Mountain (Assayas does something wonderful with that one - in a way, it's the little boy's theme), and a tiny bit of The Jezebel Spirit."
The Devil's Men/Land Of The Minotaur, by C. Karayannis, UK 1975
This has been made available in US on video under the title LAND OF THE MINOTAUR. It is a horror movie which features among others the famous UK actor Peter Cushing. The film is not overwhelming - to say it politely. Eno's music sounds very electronic, not as soft as his other instrumental pieces from that time. I think that most of the music has never made it on any record - though my ears may have been betrayed by the poor sound resulting from playing an NTSC video on a PAL recorder. I think that the video is out of print but it should be not too difficult to locate it at a video rental. (indeed they may even beg you to take it off their hands, with expressions like "have a nice day now" and "feel free to keep it for longer than the normal rental period if you wish!")
Most of the music for one of David Lynch's few forays into mainstream cinema is by Toto, but the Apollo team of Brian, Roger & Daniel contributed "The Prophecy Theme", a lovely piece. The Dune soundtrack is available on CD BUT be warned, there are two versions of the CD, one with this piece, the other without it but with lots of other Toto stuff. Buy wisely, or get from iTunes where it's attributed to Toto. Interviewed by Deirdre O'Donaghue for Snap on KCRW in 1988, Roger Eno explained: "We were struggling for an idea. There were three of us, Daniel Lanois, Brian and myself. This was in Canada, and right towards the end of my stay, I came up with a very simple waltz theme which didn't suit this film at all. Brian chopped it around a little, well quite a bit actually, which was very nice, and then Danny proceeded to use his technological wizardry on it, which transported this thing from being quite a -- I can't remember exactly what it was but I think it was pretty banal, but that was the catalyst of this idea. As a result I missed my plane because I was supposed to be leaving that day but I forgot and mixed everything up..."
Fear X, Nicholas Winding Refn, 2003
This is so nearly a masterpiece, yet something doesn't quite work. EnoWeb is still puzzling out what. In a mix of straightforward storyline and enigmatic scenes, we follow baffled security guard Harry Caine (John Turturro) as he tries to understand why his wife was murdered and track down the man who killed her. He obsessively watches security videos and sees visions of his wife who leads him to some discoveries. The film builds up to a climax but then afterwards becomes totally coy about what has (or has not) happened. It's just that little bit too open-ended: it doesn't give the viewer quite enough information, and because of that you can come away from the movie feeling let down somehow. Those familiar with The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case may have had a similar reaction to its sudden cop-out ending. This big quibble aside, it's impeccably acted, the actors are well directed although the director's decisions are a bit difficult to understand), well-filmed, sound-designed and lit. One key scene is where Harry is visited by a call-girl; when she aks him "So is your wife here?", he replies "No". Having come into his hotel room, she asks, "Are you sure you're not alone?" But the emphasis is wrongly placed on "sure" -- contradicting the fact that he has just told her he is on his own. The emphasis should really be on "not alone", as it would then give him a hint that he is hallucinating. Yup, we do think about these things. There's a worthwhile article on Wikipedia. Music (not released on CD) is by Brian and J. Peter Schwalm, dark moody drones and rumbles with touches of Music for Onmyo-ji and Drawn From Life. Region 2 DVD released in Denmark and the UK in 2004.
Publicity blurb: "During his adult life Derk Jarman shot his own visual diary. Glitterbug presents for the first time a small fraction of that record, with a retrospective of the 70's and early 80's. This unique vision of his personal and professional life goes behind the scenes of many of his films, and is presented with an exclusive musical soundtrack by Brian Eno. This soundtrack will only be available on this Dangerous to Know video cassette." Well, it's on DVD and streaming too these days, proving that publicists know nothing. Here's more info: "Glitterbug" was shown on BBC TV recently as a tribute to Jarman, who died recently of AIDS-related illness. It's a typically abstract, fragmentary film collage, occasionally quite beautiful but generally rather meaningless if you're unfamiliar with his life and work. The Eno soundtrack is exclusive, entirely instrumental, and IMHO much better than his other recent recordings; much more rhythmic and up-front sound. Jarman's earlier films vary from the theatrical (Edward II, Caravaggio, Last of England) to the experimental (Angelic Conversation, The Garden, Blue) with various strange ventures off to one side (Sebastiane). I noticed when watching The Oscars last night that their tribute to dead film-industry people mentioned the likes of River Phoenix and Fellini, but not Jarman, which given his iconoclastic, avant-garde celebrity is rather unkind. As commented, I'm still of the opinion that it's some of Eno's best music. (attribution lost, I believe these comments were by Brian Duguid.) Available on video & DVD, we think. Three of the music tracks appeared on the All Saints Sampler All Saints Calling, and altered forms of some of the music appeared on the Eno/Wobble collaboration Spinner.
Powerful, epic, long thriller from Michael Mann, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Even minor characters are given a back-story. Neil McCauley, De Niro's criminal character, believes, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner", but in the end is unable to folow his own dictum. Includes two pieces from Brian ("Force Marker", which appears on the soundtrack CD, and "Late Evening in Jersey", which appeared on The Drop under the assumed name "Hazard" and with its genuine identity on Curiosities Vol 1).
Former US Marine Sergeant Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) experiences amnesia and is committed to the care of a state institution for the criminally insane after being charged with the murder of a police officer. A doctor subjects him to an experimental treatment which involves being trussed up in a restraining jacket and stuck in a morgue drawer for several hours. Either hallucinating or travelling through time, he sees glimpses of the past and the future with Jackie (Kiera Knightley). Can he solve his mystery? This is an excellent, very satisfying film, with music by Brian, and it was responsible for the largest number of queries on a single topic in EnoWeb's history: people asking where they could obtain the "love theme" played throughout the film. We asked Opal several times in the years after the film's release but they said they had no plans to release it, and it took until 2019 for it to appear under the title "The End Of A Thin Cord" on Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks - Extended Edition. A little of the film's other music has been released: the track at the start of the film (Gulf War section) is "Fleeting Smile" by Roger Eno (Brian's brother), available on the album Music For Films III (All Saints Records/Hannnibal/Ryko label); that title is mistakenly used by some YouTubers on their videos. There are also excerpts from "Going Unconscious" from the album Another Day On Earth and an alternate mix of "The Demon Of The Mines" (from the Japanese edition of Another Day On Earth). One of the tracks over the closing credits is by The Jane Does. Trivia: Adrien Brody insisted on being shut up in the drawer for real, so some of that whimpering and fear is genuine claustrophobia.
The Lovely Bones
Music by Brian's Small Craft on a Milk Sea supergroup, some of which appeared on that album and some that is unique to the film, plus some classic Eno tracks. Susie Salmon is murdered and watches events unfold from Heaven. Great direction, performances and effects, but often a profoundly uncomfortable and distressing film to watch.
The Million Dollar Hotel, Wim Wenders, 1999
The film begins with a character throwing himself off the top of a building. Five minutes into watching this, you may feel like doing the very same thing yourself. What went wrong? A story by hotelkeeper Bono, direction by Wim Wenders, music by Bono, U2, Daniel Lanois, Jon Hassell and Brian, should have added up to something special. But it's a profoundly tedious movie. The storyline is simple: someone is dead under mysterious circumstances and Mel Gibson investigates their death. He believes that one of the occupants of the hotel is responsible and will stop at nothing to find out who (your money may be on the Romans). The problem is that all the occupants of the hotel are crazy. Not in an amusing or intriguing way, just annoyingly crazy. It's no fun to watch... they've all got their schtick and they schtick to it. There is a voiceover from the main character, the Prodigy-haired Tom Tom played by Jeremy Davies, who gives a twitchy, fidgety, am-I-clever-or-stupid mumbling performance that is totally irritating (he delivered exactly the same thing in Steven Soderburgh's remake of Solaris a few years later). EnoWeb expects some people like it. Musical highlights include Jon Hassell's "Amsterdam Blue (Cortege)" and a nice version of "Satellite of Love" which thankfully unlike the soundtrack CD does not have Milla Jojovich interpreting it in new and exciting ways. The movie is available on DVD and video and includes some music that did not make it onto the soundtrack CD.
Mr. Wroe's Virgins (television series)
Here is a quote from Opal Information no. 23: "In February and March (1993) BBC2 screened a four-part drama serial Mr. Wroe's Virgins, for which Roger and Brian Eno wrote the music. The serial will probably be repeated in the autumn." It wasn't, as far as EnoWeb is aware, and wasn't released on video or DVD either. For a few months it was available on BBC Store before that was shut down.
Neil Gaiman's 1996 6-part BBC television series, in which Richard Mayhew discovers the people and things that live in London Below, as he undergoes a series of trials that change him forever. Neverwhere tells the story of Richard Mayhew, who discovers a strange alternative London peopled by weird and wonderful characters and places - many of them interpretations of places on the London Tube map. Gaiman's Neverwhere is a place where an Earl holds Court, where there is a real live Angel, and dangerous people. Lots of them. How did Eno get involved? Neil Gaiman explained to EnoWeb: "Eno did the music for Neverwhere because Lenny and I are both fans, and we thought we'd ask him, and he'd say no, and then we'd go with a BBC person, but at least we'd get lunch with Eno out of it. And we asked him. And he said yes." Brian wrote original music for this, some of which later surfaced on The Drop and NILE: An Ancient Egyptian Quest. Originally released on PAL VHS Double video BBCV 5948. Brief excerpts from the music also appear on the BBC audiobook cassette version. Neverwhere was broadcast on some U.S. cable channels in early 1999. Available in the US as a DVD published by A&E (stated as Region 1 but is apparently Region 0 universal), and Region 2 by the BBC's 2Entertain arm, both with a commentary by Neil. We prefer Dave McKean's original art from the BBC video & the US DVD (right).
Nightingale in a Music Box
Psychological thriller filmed on a shoestring. Publicity mentions music by Fripp & Eno although we're not sure if it is new or old.
Brian is credited as having some involvement with this Amazon adaptation of Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things, but it's unclear what.
Sebastiane, by Derek Jarman, UK 1976
Marvel at DJ's cinematic vision in this classic of homoerotic film-making. The film begins with some kinda bacchanalerama where an Emperor presides over dancers wearing unfeasibly large strap-on penises who dance a caper culminating in an outburst of flour and water paste. Why? This has no relation to the rest of the film, as the location then switches to a sun-drenched Roman outpost where a bunch of men sweat, get bored, splash about in water in slow motion while speaking Latin (with subtitles... and not all the Latin sounds like Latin), suffer a touch of the sun etc. The slow-motion water stuff appears to have been highly influential on television commercials for shower gel in subsequent years. Anyway, the head honcho gets a bit obsessed with Sebastiane but Sebastiane doesn't want to know (preferring his lamby-pamby religious visions) so head honcho arranges for the guys to shoot him starkers with arrows. The end. Was the idea to create something painterly? EnoWeb's mistake was trying to view this film in terms of an interesting story that one could follow, perhaps with a few car-chases and laser-gun fights along the way. But it's an impressionistic experience of a film and has a large and appreciative audience who can see the merit in it that philistinenoweb cannot. Most of the music is available on Music For Films (the director's cut and the official version). Available on DVD and video.
La Stanza Del Figlio (The Son's Room)
Lorenzo Belardinelli writes: Hello, I've recently discovered your site, looking for Eno's lyrics on the web. I was "forced" to do so by Nanni Moretti's last film "La stanza del figlio" (Son's room). Moretti's work is very very popular in Italy and in France, and maybe you've heard of his films. (last film is already one of the major candidates for best film's price in next Cannes Festival). [EnoWeb adds: it was indeed the winner of the Palme d'Or for Best Film at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.] In the movie, Brian Eno music plays an important role. The story is about a family who loses its sixteen-year-old son in a sea accident. The father (Moretti himself) goes to a record shop because he wants to buy a cd, as a gift "in memoriam" for his son; he asks the shop assistant, and the shop assistant takes a cd, saying "it's old, but it's so beautiful...". Then, the music starts, and it's "By this river"...
The whole song is then played again at the end of the film, accompanying end titles. The soundtrack of the movie is composed by Nicola Piovani (Oscar-prize winner for original soundtrack on Benigni's La vita e' bella); and it features also an Italian song from the 60s ("Insieme a te non ci sto piu' " by Caterina Caselli) and a short piece from "Water Dances" by Michael Nyman.
Brian provided much of the music for this programme, described as "A thrilling and raw drama about young lives lived on the edge in east London - an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city drug and gang culture". It follows Dushane and his gang as he attempts to become Top Boy, and then hold on to that status. Now on Netflix as Top Boy Summerhouse (Channel 4 series 1-2) and Top Boy (Netflix series 3 onwards)
Todd Haynes' take on the Glam Rock era and gay coming-of-age. Characters are apparently inspired by David Bowie, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, Sir Ignatius Pop, Marc Bolan etc etc. Story: Journalist is commissioned to find out what happened to former Glam Rock idol Brian Slade, but the tale peters out after he's done about half his research. Hmm, talking of peters out, Ob-Ewan McGregor reveals more than is strictly necessary. Music soundtrack: peppered with songs from Here Come The Warm Jets and early Roxy Music albums, mainly originals, some covers. As the film won an Oscar in 1999, a swinging big-band version of the first verse of "Needles In The Camel's Eye" was played at the ceremony! You can find that on YouTube
Other films with previously released music
We can't be bothered to summarise all these.
- TRAFFIC: "An Ending (Ascent)"
- JUBILEE (Derek Jarman, 1978): Slow water & Dover beach
- ROCK' N' ROLL HIGHSCHOOL (Allan Arkush, 1979): M 386, Spirits drifting, Alternative III, Energy fools the magician, Devo: Come back Jonee
- EGON SCHIELE - EXZESSE (Herbert Vesely, 1980)
- REMEMBRANCE (Colin Gregg, 1982): Aragon, From the same hill
BREATHLESS (Jim McBride, 1983): Wind on water, Final Sunset
- 9½ WEEKS (Adrian Lyne, 1986): Music For Airports
- DOGS IN SPACE (Richard Lowenstein, 1986): Sky Saw
- CASTAWAY (Nicolas Roeg, 1987): Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: Chemistry
- LOST HIGHWAY (David Lynch, 1999/2000): Bowie & Eno: I'm Deranged (end titles appear to have a slightly different start to the song, but there's no way I'm going to sit through that impenetrable film again to check)
- ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL: The Big Ship
For All Mankind
This is the film that people expect to be called Apollo, as it is the film referred to by Brian Eno on the cover of the Apollo album. Delays occurred before its release and some music was added by other artists. For All Mankind (National Geographic Society) is an excellent documentary of the manned lunar missions. There are no voice overs and no annoying interviews with chief NASA administrators -- this is pure NASA footage and soundtrack of the voyage to the moon. I was in awe of its beauty. Highly recommended.Oh, I guess you're wondering what the connection to Eno is? He supplied the music, of course. Here's the track listing:
- Theme for "Opera"
- Always Returning
- Silver Morning
- Fleeting Smile
- Tension Block
- Asian River
- Under Stars
- The Secret Place
- 4-Minute Warning
- An Ending (Ascent)
- For Her Atoms
Many of these are from Apollo and Music for Films III and are credited accordingly to Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois where appropriate. The music accompanies the imagery in an extremely complementary way.
In 02000 the film was released on DVD as part of the Criterion Collection. Various features listed as appearing on this disc are as folows: Audio Highlights From NASA Missions, Paintings & Commentary by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan L. Bean, Onscreen Subtitles Identifying Astronauts and Mission Control Specialists, Aspect Ratio(s): Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1, Encoding All Regions, Single Layers, Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Director Al Reinert And Apollo 17 Commander Eugene A. Cernan (Dolby Digital 1.0) Available subtitles: English. We aren't quite sure whether all these are on the final released version. (Information and notes contributed by Paul Martz )
Stephen Goodman adds: I read with great interest - after the referral from NerveNet list - about the "For All Mankind" video by National Geographic. However I noted the absence from the listing of another occurrance of the film in another form: Issue 98 of "PC Format" magazine included a CD-ROM containing both "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" and "For All Mankind". When initially received I couldn't play it at all - but after updating the QuickTime module used this was not a problem. The resolution is of course not movie-quality, when viewed on a PC, but the film is as I remember it, and still brings a tear to the eye of this wishful viewer; and it includes all credits, which match the EnoWeb music list you have online. There is also a nice multimedia presentation showing interviews with the astronauts and the director of the film, elements of the suits and ships, and other minutae of the missions of interest to enthusiasts like myself. It is necessary, though, to exit the program that runs it all with Alt-F4 as there is no Exit choice. [EnoWeb: this is the version originally published by Voyager, who also released Laurie Anderson's Puppet Motel CD-ROM.]
Creation of the Universe
Josh Dixon writes: The PBS special "The Creation of the Universe" first aired in 1985 and was released on PBS Home Video around 1986. It has been aired several other times, the most recent of which I believe was in 1999 when it was rebroadcast in conjunction with Dr. Timothy Ferris's new special "Life In The Universe".
The special was well made and thought out. Ferris, along with notable scientists such as Murray Gell-Mann (theorized the existence the subatomic quark), John Archibald Wheeler (theorized the existence of quantum foam), Carlo Rubbia (winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize for the discovery of the Z particle at CERN and the development of antimatter containment techniques), Alan Sandage, Steven Weinberg, and others do an excellent job of presenting the newest (ca. 1985) scientific research into the origins of the universe in understable, non-technical terms.
"The Creation of the Universe" is even more special since it contains rare footage of Dr. Stephen Hawking before he began using his famous speech synthesizer (he lost his voice around 1986 because of a bout of pneumonia which required an advanced tracheostomy). Because of ALS, his speech was quite weak and had to be "interpreted" for audiences through his associate, Dr. Nick Warner.
Now for the soundtrack: Eno is indeed listed as the sole music credit in "The Creation of the Universe". The most noticeable piece in the film is the track "1/1" from "Ambient 1: Music For Airports" which was used in several sequences in the film (the first set to archived footage of Albert Einstein's search for the Unified Field Theories and the other in a short bio of Dr. Stephen Hawking). However, the main theme and other pieces seem to have been written for the film as I have not been able to locate them on his released recordings, which is a shame considering how beautiful several pieces meld into the film and would do quite well on their own merits.
Availability: Available on DVD. Andrew Poth also writes: I purchased a copy a few years ago in VHS NTSC format from PBS Home Video as PBS #135 (ISBN 1-56111-507-X). It can frequently be seen on the shelves of video stores. The box says "© Produced by Northstar Productions, 1985".
How Buildings Learn
Stewart Brand fronted this 6-part BBC2 series based on his book about buildings and how they adapt or are adapted. Theme music by Brian Eno, other music by Brian (Drop tracks, some unreleased pieces, one that cropped up on Curiosities Vol 1) and other music (Nirvana, Otis Redding). Not released on video.
The Natural World: Hammerheads
A television documentary in the BBC's The Natural World strand on Hammerhead sharks. Narrated by Ian Holm. New music by Brian, not released although some was re-used on the track "Passing Over" on Another Day On Earth, and the UK & US re-releases of Music For Films III each have a different "Shark" bonus track.
Arena: Francis Bacon
BBC television documentary on artist Frances Bacon, with new music by Brian. Not released.
Arena: Brian Eno: Another Green World
A comprehensive 2010 documentary about Brian. "Eno has given Arena unprecedented access to observe him working in his studio and talking with friends and colleagues. The master of reinvention engages with fellow influential minds, including Richard Dawkins, Malcolm Gladwell, David Whittaker and Steve Lillywhite, in a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics."
Art School (BBC4)
A Time Shift documentary broadcast on Saturday 19th June from 21:20 to 22:00 on UK digital television channel BBC4, discussing "the British art school's reputation as the engine of 60s counter culture" according to the Radio Times. Contributors included Brian, Mary Quant and Kim Howells.
Peter Van Riel writes: I'm sending you this mail to let you know I have on videotape a 23 minute interview with Eno from a Dutch TV documentary series called "Beeldstorm". The four parts documentary deals with changing society, new media, etc. Part III which was broadcast on September 18, 1994 features interviews with Brian Eno, Prof. Michael Tracey (communication sciences) and Norman Lear (TV producer - see "all in the family"). Brian Eno is interviewed in his London house.
Classic Albums: The Joshua Tree
Brian, the U2 members and Daniel Lanois explain what went into the making of the album. Available on DVD/video.
Father Ted (Channel 4)
Brian appears briefly on-screen in the final story of the final series of the comedy programme Father Ted. He is introduced to Ted as "Father Brian Eno" at the "It's Great Being a Priest!" convention but has no lines. Ted only has a chance to greet him before going to the aid of a fellow-priest who is sitting on the window-sill outside.
Here's A Piano I Prepared Earlier (BBC4)
Brian appeared on screen for a few seconds during a section about the Portsmouth Sinfonia, singing and wearing his red beret, in this June 2004 documentary.
Het uur van de wolf: Anton Corbijn - Geen stil leven
Sandor Caron says: Dutch television aired a documentary on photographer Anton Corbijn which features a photosession with Eno. Also interviews with Eno, Bono, Depeche Mode and many others... It is now available online at the site of NPS. Interviews with Corbijn and voiceovers are in Dutch, but other interviews are in English with Dutch subtitles.
Brian appeared in a feature on The Clock Of The Long Now on the BBC's current affairs programme to mark the installation of the clock prototype at London's Science Museum in July 02000.
Question Time (BBC1)
Brian was one of the panellists on the programme broadcast on BBC1 at 10.35pm on 26th February 2004.
Robert Wyatt -- Free Will and Testament (BBC4)
Brian popped up a few times to discuss Robert Wyatt's work and attitudes in this 2003 programme.
War On Iraq: Which Side Are You On? (Channel 4)
Broadcast on Sunday 29th September 2002. Running from 23:40 to past 1, it was a lively discussion between six not entirely like-minded pundits who gave their views on whether Iraq should be invaded (yes, there was a time before Coalition forces were in Iraq!). Brian didn't think it was a particularly good idea. When somebody said that Saddam was known to have WMDs, Brian said that wasn't known actually.
And on that bombshell, you've got to the end of this very long page.