Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story (2006)
70 min | Documentary, Music
NOT A PHOTOGRAPH documents the resurrection of the seminal post-punk band Mission of Burma, beginning in 2002 and continuing to the present. For a band deemed 'too ahead-of-their-time' during their initial existence, NOT A PHOTOGRAPH follows Mission of Burma's struggle to breathe new life into a tale that's already been recorded in rock's history books -- one that's placed them under the bright lights of acclaim, influence and legend. Mission of Burma epitomizes the age-old, artistic quandary of being influential but not famous; to have critical but not commercial success. Though relatively few saw them during their short but burning career (1979-1983), Mission of Burma inspired countless artists over the years, including 80's college-rockers R.E.M., Sonic Youth & The Pixies, 90's alternative artists Moby, Nirvana & Blur, and bands from the post-Nirvana/indie rock explosion such as Yo La Tengo and Spoon. After nearly twenty years and inexplicable circumstances, Mission of Burma's reunion - beginning as a handful of performances in 2002 and since catapulting into an international tour and their first studio album since 1982 - has left many begging the question: was the band truly ahead of their time, and has time finally caught up with them? NOT A PHOTOGRAPH offers a snapshot of a time before compact discs and MTV, when rock & roll still had some tricks up its sleeve, and when a group of smart, young artist/musicians formed a band The New Yorker would later call "the most criminally undersung band of the 1980s." And then, when they would reincarnate two decades later, to find an audience of still-rocking forty year-olds and astute twenty year-olds standing side by side, anticipating their band's return to form.