Volume 92, Issue 14

Friday, September 25, 1998

it was sugar


A disc jock-umentary

By Christina Vardanis
Gazette Staff

Fresh out of film school, twin brothers Marco and Mauro La Villa have chosen to scratch their way into the cinematic world by directing Hang the DJ, a documentary style film centered around '90s pop culture and the contemporary disc jockey. Marco admits fiction is where the brothers' creative hearts lie, so why choose to begin their cinematic career with a documentary?

"My brother and I just like to do things in the most difficult possible way," Marco jokes. "We thought it would be an easy first project. Meanwhile, three years later..."

Endless months of research and a year and a half of shooting has paid off for the duo, as the film has recently enjoyed phenomenal success at the Toronto Film Festival and is opening in Cineplex Odeon theatres this weekend. Its enthusiastic response in Toronto came as a surprise to the brothers.

"When we arrived at the theatre there was 100 people standing outside that wanted to get in, but there was no room," Marco says. "We thought for sure we were at the wrong place."

The movie follows the lives of disc jockeys from around the world, including Q-Bert, Junior Vasquez and Roger Sanchez. Rather than concentrating on the raves and drugs that surround DJ culture, the La Villas chose to concentrate on the personal life of the disc jockey as an artist and juxtapose it with their view of the culture.

"I would hardly call this film a documentary – it's more of a portrait," Marco explains. "If you compare it to photography, a photographer in Vietnam is a documentary photographer while Annie Liebowitz is a portrait artist. This film is definitely a portrait because it's our biased view. All the interviews are documentary and the people are documentary – but we paint the portrait."

Capturing the atmosphere of a pulsing, strobing club proved to be a challenge, but the La Villas strove for absolute realism. "The club scenes are supposed to feel like you're in the club, like you can hardly hear each other talk if there's someone sitting next to you."

Working as a creative team comes easily for the twins and Marco insists two peoples' input is an asset to the creative process. "I have no problem telling Mauro when an idea is shit and he does the same for me. So by the time the ideas go to someone else, we'll have ripped most of them apart.

"Working with anyone else may be a problem," Marco considers. "We wouldn't be on the same wavelength. Mauro and I took the same courses in school, have the same best friends – we've haven't been apart since the womb."

The La Villas have successfully combined their passion, knowledge and ambition into Hang the DJ and with the wheels now in motion, they'll spin their way into the next stratosphere of cinema.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998