LOST IN FRANCE
Directed by Niall McCann. Featuring Stewart Henderson, Paul Savage,
Emma Pollock, Alex Kapranos, Stuart Braithwaite, Aidan Moffat. 96 mins. In cinemas March 3
3.5/5 MUSIC DOC EXPLORES IMPACT OF INDIE LABEL ON ’90S GLASGOW Old photographs, grainy concert footage, VHS tapes and some heard-earned wisdom come together to create a strong sense of nostalgia and social commentary in Niall McCann’s
Lost In France. The documentary explores how Glaswegian indie record label Chemikal Underground ignited a renaissance of music, art and vitality within a city that was suffering greatly after its industrial hub collapsed in the late 1980s. Formed by popular indie band The Delgados, the success and passion of Chemikal Underground attracted other musicians, and in 1997 Mogwai, Arab Strap, Bis, a pre-Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos and them went on a road trip to play a festival in the small French town of Mauron.
McCann’s film not only follows the musicians as they reunite to play, but allows them to ruminate both on their past and the future of music. Unsurprisingly for a group of
Scots, the anecdotes are filled with hilarious stories of drunken bus trips, boat rides and misadventures. But there’s also a melancholy and a fear at play here, as the Chemikal
Record crew lament the increasingly elitist and expensive music industry in which unknown bands can easily be lost to the ether. Kapronos remembers how the dole was a necessary component of musicians’ lives, allowing them to survive while pursuing their passion, whereas now it’s stigmatised as being for lazy, unproductive people.
The power of this music is evident on both a cultural and personal level. Old conflicts still bring a strain to the musicians’ faces, but there’s a deep appreciation too. RM Hubbert speaks onstage about how music helped him express himself through his depression, a statement as true for Glasgow as it is for him.
Gallic objects: Lost in France