We Are XCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Officially selected for the BFI London and Sundance film festivals, the critically acclaimed documentary We Are X tells the story of Japanese glam rock giants X Japan and their rollercoaster of a career.
Cinematically shot, We Are X chronicles the band’s turbulent history through a mixture of intimate interviews, stunning live performance recordings and archive footage. The film paints a revealing picture filled with heartache, drama, self-discovery, and the overcoming of adversities, as it counts down the days until X Japan’s upcoming performance in New York’s renowned Madison Square Garden arena. From dealing with suicide and serious health issues, to the falling out of group members and even the influences of a dangerous cult, the documentary sheds light on a multitude of issues the band have faced.
Well-placed excerpts from past shows and media appearances give insight into the musicians’ development and the wide-reaching effect they have had on the public over the past three decades. A memorable scene shows archive footage of X Japan members running away from hoards of people held back by Japanese security, as they are ushered to safety by colleagues before becoming engulfed by screaming fans. Another shows crowds of women in the street openly crying as they react to the news that X Japan will be disbanding. These kinds of clips speak volumes about X Japan’s intense following.
The film also features a lot of live performance clips, where the group can be seen adorned in eccentric outfits, their hair spiked up, their faces covered in bold and ethereal makeup, shooting surly looks into the camera with their strikingly framed eyes. On stage they are in their element. Juxtaposed with this, however, are personal conversations with the band members, where we learn of their ongoing struggles in a reality far from that of their enigmatic onstage personas.
Produced by an Oscar-winning team who previously worked on the likes of Searching for Sugarman, and directed by respected documentary filmmaker Stephen Kijak (Stones In Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man), We Are X is so astonishing at times that it is hard to believe that these are real events and real people. The members of X Japan seem more like otherworldly god-like characters from a movie. This is one of the numerous reasons why the documentary is so captivating and worth watching – their story is truly stranger than fiction.
We Are X is released nationwide on 2nd March 2017.
Watch the trailer for We Are X here: