Border Radio

Not connected with the nonfiction book of the same title, this is a low-budget, black-and-white independent feature (1987) written and directed by three UCLA film-school graduates (Allison Anders, Dean Lent, and Kurt Voss) about the rock scene in Los Angeles. After cutting a new album, a rock star named Jeff Bailey (Chris D.) steals some money owed to him and heads for his trailer in Ensenada. Most of the story concentrates on the efforts of his wife (Luanna Anders) to fend off the press and find out her husband’s whereabouts, as well as her involvement with Bailey’s roadie (Chris Shearer); various documentary-style interviews with a groupie (Iris Berry) and other hangers-on, which appear to be improvised, are periodically intercut with the relatively lax narrative flow. The movie has a good feel for the LA rock milieu, and some of the arty effects of the cinematography and editing are striking. But there’s very little sense of narrative rhythm, and the overall pacing seems needlessly sluggish. With Texacala Jones, John Doe, and the music of Dave Alvin, the Divine Horsemen, Green on Red, Los Lobos, the Lazy Cowgirls, and Chip Kinman. (JR)

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