Antonino D’Ambrosio’s filmed extension of his book “Let Fury Have the Hour” celebrates what he dubs “creative response” to the soulless consumerism and runaway egotism fostered by the 1980s reigns of Reagan in America and Thatcher in England. Focusing largely on punk, rap and related musical forms, with occasional forays into confrontational writing, guerrilla filmmaking and street art, D’Ambrosio presents a curiously warm-and-fuzzy hindsight interpretation of artistic aggression, delivered by the artists themselves. The catchily titled pic, bowing Dec. 14 in limited release, could play well with punk nostalgists, and resonate with contemporary manifestations of social anger.
The pic is the opposite of slick: Applying the DIY aesthetic that once galvanized his interviewees, D’Ambrosio (working with editor Karim Lopez) infuses faded bits of found footage with surprising energy. Artists Billy Bragg, Eugene Hutz, Wayne Kramer, Chuck D., Ian MacKaye, Eve Ensler and John Sayles beam about the social consciousness their efforts engendered, while a wall-to-wall soundtrack, and excerpts from “Matewan” and “Brother From Another Planet” illustrate the power of their output and the importance of those that influenced them. The Clash, though central to D’Ambrosio’s book, is conspicuously under-referenced here.