Director Cameron Crowe (pictured) invoked Martin Scorsese’s comprehensive rock doc No Direction Home: Bob Dylan at the Toronto International Film Festival, describing it as the “guiding light” which inspired him during the making of his latest documentary Pearl Jam Twenty.
Discussing the making of his film at a post-screening press conference, Crowe said that while it was true most music documentaries tended to focus on a short period of time or a single event, the Dylan film really showed him it was possible to make a piece of work spanning a whole career.
“I was really inspired by No Direction Home, the Scorsese documentary on Bob Dylan, and that’s a huge subject that spans a long time,” he said. “I just love the way that Scorsese – as a fan, and as a musicologist and as a director – examines the roots and shows how the music is born.
“I felt so satisfied and inspired, I wanted to listen to more Bob Dylan – it felt like the Bob Dylan experience. So that was my guiding light in making the movie with the guys. If we can make a movie that lets you feel the way a Pearl Jam concert or record lets you feel, then we’re in good shape.”
Elsewhere, Crowe – who was accompanied at the press conference by the band – said that of all the footage featured in the Pearl Jam doc, the “Holy Grail” was finding a long-rumored clip of band frontman Eddie Vedder slow-dancing with late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain to Eric Clapton’s song “Tears in Heaven” at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“That had been talked about; some people didn’t even remember it happening, other people swore there was somebody there with a camera,” Crowe recalled. “So with the help of the people that had the footage, and people that really wanted to help us get everything, we did find that footage. And it’s so powerful.
“Watching it again tonight, it’s such a human moment,” he added. “It is what happens outside of the glare of the spotlight – they [Cobain and Vedder] were really in a blender of media explosiveness at that time, but here was this moment below the stage… where Kurt and Eddie got to be alone and express themselves as people. The fact that it’s on film is amazing and it’s so poignant.”
Check out the trailer for Pearl Jam Twenty here.