Imagine you combined two of your favourite things together? Like having coffee and donuts for breakfast, or perhaps pizza and beer for dinner. But wait… there’s more to it. The coffee reveals hints of hazelnut in its taste, the donuts are freshly baked and covered with pistachio, the pizza’s drowning in melted parmesan cheese, and the beer is none other than Guinness. What a feast!
Writing this article feels somewhat this way. Music has always been a huge inspiration for me as a writer. When I chose to transform my hobby of endless binge-watching into an actual career pursuit, it was only a matter of time for the two to clash!
The following five titles almost exclusively share the stories of coming-to-age DJ’s – fictional or real – from around the world.
All These Sleepless Nights (2016, Poland)
I remember watching this one at a film festival. I remember staring in awe among the audience members as the lights and music unfolded before my eyes in a glorious display of fireworks for all my senses. All These Sleepless Nights portrays the joys and fears of a bunch of millennials who are on the verge of entering adulthood, and therefore, letting go of the teenage years.
One might go so far as to argue that the film’s main song, Caribou’s ‘Can’t Do Without You‘ – or rather, the remix by Tale of Us & Mano Le Tough – is not simply a character itself, but an allegory for the whole film. Inevitably, at some point we all have to grow up. Entering Caribou’s song, one faces the tough choices that need to be made, the responsibilities that await, the relationships that should be cut off. But also, one hell of a glorious future if one’s brave enough to take the journey. As Robin Sharma once wrote, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
If you listen to ‘Can’t Do Without You’ long enough, you might actually start hearing “I can do without you”.
Berlin Calling (2008, Germany)
Everyone, regardless of how big their dreams are, is looking for someone to share the world with: from the big moments, like building a life together, to the small ones, such as witnessing the birth of a new sunrise.
Berlin Calling captures the madness that comes along on the road to being a DJ, and it’s kind of hard to miss it from the list! Paul Kalkbrenner’s soundtrack is absolutely mesmerizing. From the opening track to the very last song. Everyone who’s into electronic music has heard at least once in their life ‘Sky and Sand’ played live in some club. I was lucky enough to witness it upon a very memorable sunrise seeing some of my favourite DJ’s back to back on the stage!
We Are Your Friends (2015, USA)
We Are Your Friends follows the story of a DJ-wanna-be caught between his aspirations and life’s unpredictability. This is the most Hollywood title in the list, no doubt about it! The movie’s electronic soundtrack carries the biggest EDM aftertaste, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, since the EDM influence is so, so big in the US, where the movie is based.
Deorro’s “I Can Be Somebody” best captures the film’s message. Taking the first step is not easy. It’s a leap of faith. It’s always scary & always necessary if you seek growth. The soundtrack further features Kygo, Hayden James, Years & Years, AlunaGeorge and Justice that are all high on the sound wave of today’s generation.
Eden (2014, France)
The French entry to the list enters strong with a truly mesmerizing soundtrack. Funny story actually. I saw this one in French in a movie theatre in Berlin & I simply don’t speak French. Yet I understood the movie better than I expected to, better than people who speak the French language probably, due to feeling the sound. Eden is the story of a young man who is willing to follow his heart in the pursuit of getting to know life.
The transformational power of music goes beyond any message that words can ever on their own transmit. When Kings of Tomorrow’s “Finally” kicks in, you just know it.
It’s all Gone Pete Tong (2004, UK)
Writing this article was initially inspired by this film above all the others. I’ve seen it so many times & with each next viewing, the deja vu feeling gets tangled up with an entirely new experience! It’s All Gone Pete Tong tells the story of Frankie Wilde, a DJ who went deaf and still blew away all expectations by keeping his passion for music alive.
There is actually no better way to end this article than with Reflekt’s ‘Need to Feel Loved.’ A song so pure & eclectic, angels and mermaids could dance to it. Joking aside, this is what electronic music is all about: exposing the raw, honest, vulnerable, adventurous – that we all carry somewhere within us – and turning it into a song that speaks to the most humane in you; that helps you to look inside & reconnect with the inner self you on a different level. To think less and feel more. Ultimately, that’s also what great cinema is about.