Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell 2008

Directed by Matt Wolf

Celebratory portrait of avant-garde musician and disco producer Arthur Russell. "A long-neglected cult musician gets his well-deserved moment in the limelight." — Screendaily

USA In English
71 minutes DigiBeta



Jody Lee Lipes


Lance Edmands


Arthur Russell


Arthur Russell
Chuck Russell
Emily Russell
David Toop
Allen Ginsberg
Tom Lee
Ernie Brooks


Berlin, Edinburgh, Melbourne 2008


A moving and celebratory portrait of avant-garde musician and disco producer Arthur Russell, an enigma who bridged the gap between the highbrow world of modern composition and the ecstatic freedom of the discotheque. "Matt Wolf's documentary reconstructs the emergence and all too quick dissolve of the musician and composer, who died of AIDS in 1992 - as well as the rise and fall of the downtown New York community that nurtured him. A young man from Oskaloosa, Iowa, with bad acne scars and a cello, Russell landed in New York in 1973, after a short stint in a commune in San Francisco... Wolf has dug up rare footage... pictures of the Loft, the informal dance party that some claim as the birth of disco itself, and short films of Russell performing by himself, seated with his cello and singing the unearthly ballads that were exactly the ‘Buddhist bubblegum' music he told Allen Ginsberg he wanted to make." — Sasha Frere-Jones, New Yorker