Celebrated indie-pop icon Stephin Merritt is arguably one of the most fascinating and unusual singer-songwriters of the last decades, immediately recognizable by his deep baritone voice and odd string instrumentations. His equally odd and personal lyrics of love, murder, the undead, drinking, alienation and vampires have also gained him a kind of cult status. In his obsession with the dark sides of life, Merritt is sometimes referred to as ”the most depressed man in rock”, making artists such as Nick Drake and Ian Curtis appear jolly in comparison. Filmmakers Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara have spent more than ten years getting under the skin of Merritt and his band The Magnetic Fields; the result is a rare portrait of an otherwise introvert and private artist. In an intimate close-up the viewers get to follow the creative process, from song writing in dark gay bars to recordings and mellow live performances. Piece by piece their clandestine world of magical music is revealed, as are a few rare glimpses of Merritt’s personal life.

Strange Powers: Stephen Merrit and the Magnetic Fields poster
Title
Strange Powers: Stephen Merrit and the Magnetic Fields
Director
Kerthy Fix, Gail O'Hara
Country
USA/ Denmark/ France/ Germany/ UK
Length
82 min
Festival
2010
Section
Documania
Language
English
Premiere status
Swedish Premiere
Production year
2010
Original title
Strange Powers: Stephen Merrit and the Magnetic Fields
Cast
(docu)
Producer
Kerthy Fix, Gail O'Hara, Alan Oxman
Script
Kerthy Fix, Sarah Devorkin
Music
Stephin Merritt
See all films from the 2010 festival