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SilverDocs Film Preview: ‘Wild Combination’ Pieces Together Arthur Russell’s Life

SilverDocs is in full swing. Not sure what documentaries to catch (and which to skip)? After Hours tells you what the critics have to say.

Photograph courtesy of Polari Pictures.

Title: Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

The Premise: A look back at obscure musician and composer Arthur Russell’s life, as well as the New York scene he was a part of.

The Critics:
“Expect neither myth-making nor music-biz scandal from this level-headed, informative piece, but do expect to be moved by the story of an under-rated visionary who died tragically young in 1992.”—Jonathan Romney,

“[Wild Combination] is thin on actual footage of Russell, but pungently evokes the creative petrie dish of the late-1970s, early-1980s downtown.”—Eddie Cockrell, Variety

“…Matt Wolf’s forthcoming documentary Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell evokes Russell’s playful, melancholy and ever-searching mind through interviews with [Philip] Glass, Russell’s lover Tom Lee, [Jens] Lekman and many others along with often-devasting footage of the man at work and a downtown utopia (fantastical or otherwise) collapsing around him.”—August Brown, Los Angeles Times

Worth the ticket? Depends. Very little footage of Russell’s performances exists, so Wolf had to get creative with the film. This might turn off the more conventional music documentary fans, but those willing to stick around will get a glimpse of the life of an artist ahead of his time—one who counts Jens Lekman and The New Yorker’s music critic Sasha Frere-Jones as fans.

Showtime: 6:30 PM. Also on Wednesday, June 18 at 9 PM.

For tickets and the full SilverDocs schedule click here.

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