Let Fury Have the Hour - SideReel Review
Anger can be a powerful motivator, and in his documentary Let Fury Have the Hour, Antonino D’Ambrosio interviews a wide variety of counterculture artists about how their frustrations with the sociopolitical status quo have informed their work. The result is a film that’s bursting with fascinating ideas concerning the artist’s role in offering a creative counterpoint to mainstream values and informing the public about the dangers of blind acceptance. However, as much as the movie manages to arouse our intellect by illuminating the link between conscious dissent and creative inspiration, the longer it goes on the more it seems to stray from the pointed attack on Reagan/Thatcher-era politics that fuels the titular fury so effectively in the powerful opening scenes. While D’Ambrosio’s shotgun approach lacks the acute precision of an assassin’s bullet, it still gives us plenty to chew on as it offers a glimpse into some incredibly articulate creative minds.
As the film jumps back and forth in time while gradually widening its focus from musicians to poets, playwrights, screenwriters, environmentalists, labor advocates, women’s advocates, and others, it begins to appear that D’Ambrosio lacks the focus to make a coherent, effective point. By the same token, however, it could be argued that his refusal to allow the film to be constrained to any one idea or type of artist perfectly represents the rebellious, reckless spirit of punk embodied by many of his interview subjects. And D’Ambrosio’s unique talent for accentuating the intangible psychic tendrils that connect such a diverse selection of artists and activists offers remarkable insight into the creative process. He certainly has a knack for getting thoughtful responses out of his subjects, and his creative use of public-domain footage gives the movie a gritty DIY appeal. The filmmaker also compels us by highlighting the ways that art can affect the public conscience, most remarkably by revisiting the story of a community who defied the police by protecting a mother and her two children from two abusive officers while chanting "Fight the Power" -- a slogan made famous by Public Enemy’s defiant 1989 single of the same name.
For anyone who blindly accepts the world as filtered through popular media or the powers that be, the ideas presented by the artists in Let Fury Have the Hour might seem radical at first. After stepping back and examining these concepts from a distance, however, it quickly becomes obvious that the most extreme aspect of the hypotheses presented in the film is how fundamentally benevolent they are. Dismiss them as liberal or idealistic if you will, but these artists are all genuinely concerned about their fellow human beings (regardless of gender, color, or creed), and they’re determined to be voices of sanity amidst all of the disconcerting static of mass media. In many ways, it could be argued that the creative response is one of the most valuable tools we have when it comes to questioning the path that society has chosen to walk. By giving such a wide spectrum of artistic minds an open venue to express their opinions and beliefs on this matter, D’Ambrosio succeeds at getting us to consider another state of mind, and does so in a way that manages to both inspire and entertain at the same time.