Bruce Springsteen turns reflective at Rome film fest

Tue Nov 2, 2010 1:58pm EDT
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen usually rocks from a stage but "The Boss" was in a quiet, cerebral and reflective mood at the Rome film festival for the screening of a new documentary on the making of one of his greatest albums.

"Sometimes you look for the story but it finds you," he said in hushed tones after a screening of "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town," by director Thom Zimmy.

On Monday night, Springsteen, Zimmy and manager Jon Landau spoke on the stage as fans who normally shake, rattle and roll sat at times in awe-struck silence as The Boss took on an almost professorial role despite his black leather jacket.

The film, which is in competition in the festival's extra section, shifts back and forth between now and the period between 1976 and 1978 when Springsteen and his E Street Band created, rehearsed and recorded the landmark rock album.

Zimmy took hours of sometimes grainy black-and-white footage made more than 30 years ago and spliced it with interviews with Springsteen and band members now to bring the creative process to life in two time zones: yesterday and today.

Springsteen was only 26 then. He had already become an overnight superstar with the hard-driving "Born to Run." But he wanted his next album to be different.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the documentary is Springsteen's many notebooks. He wrote as many as 70 songs during the process but only 10 of them made it on to the album.

An indefatigable re-writer, phrase honer and riff perfectionist, the documentary shows Springsteen anguishing over the search for the right word or phrase and sometimes swapping phrases from one song to the other.   Continued...

<p>Musician Bruce Springsteen arrives on the red carpet to attend the screening of the film "The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town" at the Rome Film Festival November 1, 2010. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>