"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Director Kyle Broom wanted to take “Prevention of Injury (POI)” through the film festival circuit just like every other independent filmmaker, but this 20-minute film has the burden of being about something. The film’s main character is doesn’t have a name. He’s referred to in the credits only as “The Detainee.” Actor Jordan Butcher doesn’t look much like Bradley Manning, but this hardly matters. Butcher pretty much is Bradley Manning here. He’s locked in a white-walled cell in near solitary confinement where being “administratively upgraded” to suicide prevention status brings with it the tortures of restraint and sleep deprivation. Amnesty International has condemned the real Private Manning’s treatment as harsh and punitive. In this film, you get a glimpse of what it must be like. After a few screenings at various Occupy sites, Broom and producer Alexandra Spector posted their film on Vimeo to get as wide an audience as possible before Manning’s Article 32 hearing (a kind of military code preliminary hearing) set for Friday.
Watch the film while you can. This whole country might soon become one giant sequestered jury.
Bob Calhoun is a California freelance writer who specializes in rock 'n' roll, martial arts and Hollywood stuntmen.More Bob Calhoun.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)