BERLIN (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones lit up the Berlin Film Festival on Thursday, with the four veteran rockers on the red carpet for the world premiere of “Shine a Light,” Martin Scorsese’s two-hour concert documentary.
The film, shot at two concerts at New York’s intimate Beacon Theater in 2006, opened the annual cinema extravaganza, a fitting beginning to 11 days of movies, press conferences and parties where rock‘n‘roll will be at centre stage.
Madonna is expected in Berlin for her directorial debut, while movies about singer Patti Smith, British indie band Gorillaz and a heavy metal group from Baghdad also feature.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts, all in their 60s, were cheered by a noisy crowd as they emerged on to the red carpet for the evening gala screening.
“This is me doing my thing and thank God Martin wanted to capture it,” said Richards, wearing a red bandanna and dark sunglasses. “I had no idea the cameras were on. I just did my thing,” he told Reuters.
“Shine a Light,” named after a Rolling Stones song on their 1972 album “Exile on Main St,” was shot using 17 cameras, capturing the band from every conceivable angle and offering extreme close-ups of their tireless performance.
Jagger, now 64, defies his years, gyrating and pouting his way through a string of hits including “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar” and “Start Me Up.”
Scorsese has used Rolling Stones music from the start of his career, prompting Jagger to joke that “Shine a Light” was the only film of his not to feature the song “Gimme Shelter.”
“For me the music was certainly part of my life throughout the 60s,” Scorsese told reporters at a press conference.
“It became the basis for most of the work I’ve done in my movies, going from ‘Mean Streets’ on to ‘Raging Bull’ all the way over to ‘Casino’ and ‘The Departed’,” added the director, flanked by the four band members.
Scorsese adds short clips of black-and-white archive footage between songs showing a young Jagger fielding often inane and repetitive questions from reporters around the world.
Just two years after the band formed, more than 45 years ago, Jagger was asked how long it could keep going.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I think we’re pretty well set up for at least another year.”
In another interview he was asked: “Can you picture yourself at the age of 60 doing what you’re doing now?”
Jagger answered: “Yeh, easily. Yeh.”
Before the concert starts, Scorsese is shown desperately trying to find out the track list to help him plan his shoot.
Richards and Wood play pool before a gig and Jagger pours over lists of songs categorized as “well known,” “medium known” and “unknown.”
The band, looking slightly perplexed, is introduced to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and friends before the show. After they leave, Richards jokes: “Hey Clinty, We’re Bushed!”
Jagger sings on stage with Jack White of The White Stripes, Christina Aguilera and a mesmerizing Buddy Guy.
Least comfortable of all before the camera is drummer Charlie Watts, the oldest member of the band at 66.
“I hate it, but it’s very beautifully filmed,” he said, when asked how he found the experience of making the movie. “I hate doing it, like sitting up here for example.”
(Additional reporting by Mirja Spernal; Editing by Michael Winfrey)
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