by Jim Ridley
One is a multimedia explorer and provocateur who's indulged a longtime fascination with noise rock. The other is Genesis P-Orridge. Tonight you can catch documentaries on both Neil Young and P-Orridge in the waning days of The Belcourt's "Movies We Missed in 2012," with repeat showings closing the series tomorrow night.
Marie Losier's The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye follows the career and transformation of the industrial-noise pioneer, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV founder and gendernaut, tracing its subject's development from tormented schoolboy to devoted wife. Tasha Robinson in the AV Club:
Ostensibly, given the title, The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye is predominately about the relationship between P-Orridge (born Neil Megson) and Lady Jaye (born Jacqueline Breyer), who embraced each other so fully that they dressed alike, sported identical hair and makeup, and had multiple surgeries to more closely resemble each other. P-Orridge likens the process, dubbed “pandrogyne,” to an art project, to childbirth (two people in love producing a new single person, in this case themselves), to Burroughs’ cut-up technique, and to orgasm, when lovers briefly merge. But Losier covers a wide range of P-Orridge’s life, from school days as a diminutive, viciously bullied child to existence without Lady Jaye, who died in 2007. The reportage comes almost entirely in P-Orridge’s own words, often in voiceover placed over a stunning variety of archival footage and Losier’s footage of the couple’s day-to-day life, backed with Psychic TV tracks.
Neil Young: Journeys completes the triptych of concert films that began with the 2005 Heart of Gold filming at the Ryman. Here Young performs material from his 2011 album Le Noise at Toronto's Massey Hall, accompanying himself solo on heavily amped guitar. Sam Adams in the AV Club:
Journeys is Jonathan Demme’s third Young film—after Heart Of Gold and Neil Young Trunk Show, which was released to theaters but not to DVD—and his most intimate, keeping in mind that Young is a particularly guarded subject. The movie is structured around a car trip that revisits key locations from Young’s childhood home of Omemee, Ontario, but no one would mistake the driver’s seat of his car for a therapist’s couch. Demme is a sympathetic documentarian, but rarely a probing one, which is to say he gets close to Young without getting under his skin or inside his head.
Fortunately, Young’s performance is emphatic enough to be clear from the cheap seats. He stomps around the stage like a haggard visionary, his voice and guitar doubling back on themselves until it seems like they might be playing him. Journeys is the least polished of Demme’s Young documentaries, but also the most revelatory, precisely because it feels less like a message in a time capsule than like lightning in a bottle.