Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector 2008

Directed by Vikram Jayanti

Riveting interview with pop genius/convicted killer. “A hell of an exclusive… a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.” — The Times

UK / USA In English
100 minutes Colour and B&W / DigiBeta

Director, Producer


Maryse Alberti


Emma Matthews


Alan Barker


Phil Spector


Amsterdam Documentary 2008


Composer, ‘Wall of Sound’ pop producer extraordinaire and now convicted killer, the almost mythically reclusive Phil Spector agreed during his first trial to grant an unprecedented on-camera interview in his Hollywood mansion to filmmaker Vikram Jayanti. Scornful of the world’s unworthiness to judge either his lifelong brilliance or his criminal guilt, jittery from medication, and recalling myriad landmark collaborations with decades of musical greats, he’s riveting – an indelibly American fuck-up. Jayanti’s layering of unreliable testimony with Top Twenty rhapsodies and courtroom reality TV, might well have been dreamt up by David Lynch or Kenneth Anger. No aficionado of 60s pop should miss this film – or expect to hear those soaring two-minute epics of love’s rapture in quite the same way afterwards. — BG
“The most compelling filmed account ever of his life, art and state of mind… Spector talks straight to camera, spinning stories about his groundbreaking productions for The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers, his friendship with John Lennon, and his enmity with Paul McCartney… Spector’s songs – sublime in their innocence, towering in their grandeur – serve as a sort of haunting Greek chorus to the unfolding drama… Hearing these songs [performed in their entirety], and watching marvellous archive footage of The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner, provides a reminder of Spector’s monumental, enduring musical accomplishments.” — Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph
“An unmissable music documentary.” — Andrew Male, Mojo