When You’re Strange (image 1)

For a couple of years, Morrison was the best act in American show business. And the best thing about it: it wasn't an act.

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

When You’re Strange 2009

Directed by Tom DiCillo

Performance-driven doco of inflammatory 60s art-rock group The Doors and blazing frontman Jim Morrison. Narrated by Johnny Depp. “Hallucinatory… genuinely cinematic, a visual journey.” — Screendaily

In English
90 minutes Colour and B&W

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Peter Jankowski
,
John Beug
,
Jeff Jampol
,
Dick Wolf

Photography

Paul Ferrara

Editors

Mickey Blythe
,
Kevin Krasny

Music

The Doors

Narrator

Johnny Depp

With

John Densmore
,
Robby Krieger
,
Ray Manzarek
,
Jim Morrison

Festivals

Sundance, Berlin, London, Amsterdam Documentary 2009; SXSW 2010

Elsewhere

Tom DiCillo summons the inflammatory spirit of 60s art-rock group The Doors and its blazingly beautiful frontman Jim Morrison in a brilliant collage of performance footage shot between 1966 and 1971, much of it never-before-seen. “The singer’s elevation into a leaping and whirling Dionysian prince in dark curls, conch belt, and leather pants is one of the great operatic-erotic spectacles in rock. The film gets that drama, and the drama of his alcoholic descent as well. When You’re Strange does have one major idiosyncrasy. There are no interviews – at all. The movie is stitched together with a narration, spoken by Johnny Depp, that sounds like a highly enlightened Wikipedia entry. Yet DiCillo knows what made this band great. He does justice to the music – to the spangly stoned grandeur of ‘The Crystal Ship’ and to the dark majesty of ‘Light My Fire’, to every song in which Jim Morrison, with his lordly baritone, seemed to be entering heaven and hell at the same time.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.

“Hallucinatory.” — David D’Arcy, Screendaily