Music documentary films that allow its cameras unfiltered and uncensored access to basically every nook and cranny of the artist has become a slow but steadily rising trend.
From Celine Dion to Beyoncé and even One Direction, more and more artists are becoming the subjects of these documentaries which show not only the concert performance itself but also the process in which how they do it behind the scenes and all its highs and lows.
And L’Arc~en~Ciel is now part of steadily growing list.
Over the L’Arc~en~Ciel is a 90-minute documentary released in 2014 that chronicles every single aspect the iconic Japanese band’s 2012 world tour. We see the band uncut, unfiltered, and uncensored.
We see them not as idols, but as ordinary people whose rise in the world concert scene has been anything but meteoric.
Directed and edited with flair by Ray Yoshimoto, the documentary chronicles the lives of hyde, tetsuya, ken and yukihiro as they embark on a three-continent World Tour that crossed different airport codes and cities.
From Taipei, Taiwan, and all the way to their Madison Square Garden debut in New York, and back to the hometown crowds in the Tokyo National Stadium and Universal Studios Osaka, to their final stop in Honolulu, the documentary gives us unprecendented access to what goes on behind their tour and their concerts.
In the film, we see them arrive from their respective airports down to the hotels that they stay. The scenes from their arrival down to the preparations in their concerts gives us an all-access view of how the band prepares for their concerts.
The documentary intersperses behind the scenes footage with some snippets from their concerts which adds a flair of ambiance and aura on how L’Arc~en~Ciel creates their magic.
The interviews with the concert goers, their World tour producer, and the band members themselves add depth and substance that even a non-Laruku fan will entice.
hyde, for one, lets go of his persona of a tough rocker and sheds it down to being a simple guy whose dream is to perform, while yukihiro shows us his inner side of being superstitious. tetsuya, the bandleader, offers us his deep insights on how the band stood the tests of time by telling their secrets for a successful partnership.
Their Madison Square Garden performance, which was the first ever for a Japanese band, is arguably the climax of the documentary, with the band members offering a complete picture on the magnitude their performance in the Garden, which is the mecca of all entertainment in the Big Apple.
tetsuya even showed to the cameras the spot where he first seen a live concert in the Garden, a Depeche Mode concert, up there in the rafters.
The Honolulu tour, which was the final tour footage to be shown, is a testament on how these superstars, these stars that we idolize and we listen to, are also prone to the emotions of life, as the death of their friend overshadows their final bow, but still manages to sing the final song in the movie in dedication to their fallen comrade.
Overall, Over The L’Arc~en~Ciel shows us the other side of L’Arc~en~Ciel, that other side rarely seen by their fans and even concertgoers. The film not only allowed the viewers like me to look the band up close and personal like never before, but, as the title suggests, they made us ride the rainbows with them.
Anime Pilipinas would like to thank Cosplay.ph and Live Viewing Japan for the opportunity to witness the screening last February 28, 2015.
Correction: A previous version of this review missated the film’s release year as 2012. The film documents L’Arc~en~Ciel’s world tour in 2012 but was released in Japan in 2014.
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