Dir. Klaartje Quirijns. Holland. 2011.

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Out on DVD from Momentum Pictures, directed by Dutch director Klaartje Quirijns, Inside Out is a documentary about one of the most visionary and influential photographers of the late 20th century, fellow Nederlander Anton Corbijn.

Corbijn's name is one of those rare artists whose name is known the world over across many cultural forms - art, photography, cinema, music and video.  Corbijn came to prominence in the late 1970s for his photography work with Joy Division and most importantly, the fatal Ian Curtis.  Corbijn's shots of them on a snow covered bridge in Manchester helped the band migrate across the atlantic before the untimely suicide of Curtis in 1980.  Corbijn's first feature-length film in 2007 would be Control, the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division.

Corbijn's inspiring work would continue through the 1980s with his seminal work for U2 (the War album in 1982) and Depeche Mode in 1987 culminating with his work with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana in the early 1990s.  One fact I was unaware of was that he directed the video for Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box.

Corbijn remains the go to guy for album covers and sleeve photography, as the film shows him interacting with Arcade Fire and the most recent collaboration between Metallica and Lou Reed.

Director Quirijns does not force the glamour of these rock superstars down our throat, Bono is first seen hiding behind a blacked out passenger window of a car; but what is paramount is that all these superstars treat him as an equal because his style has helped them become the stars they are. 

Yet Quirijns makes clear that Corbijn is at times a loner, and through his love of music he found a place in the world - he learnt English from listening to albums, yet he is drawn to these lost souls (Curtis, Cobain) as he is one himself.  One startling moment comes when Corbijn is lying in his Dutch apartment, his amplifier is broken so he cannot listen to any music, he is lost without his music. 

The director cleverly shoots the film with Corbijn never centre of the frame, he is just off centre mostly as if he is a subject in his own work.

We meet his colleagues and work associates who worry for his stamina, his workaholic ethic is putting a lot of strain on him - gallery exhibitions, meetings, album shoots, film direction - how can one man sustain himself for this level of quality.  Perhaps the need to be globally accepted and regarded comes from the lack of love he got from his father, something we are alluded to when Corbijn goes to meet his mother who tells him she did not love his father.

Insightful, entertaining and eye-opening to a world of glamour and celebrity, Inside Out is a telling document on one of the world's most revered artists whose work will be remembered for many years.

Anton Corbijn: Inside Out is released on DVD from Momentum Pictures on Monday 17th September at £12.99RRP featuring scene select with English subtitles.

Jamie Garwood

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