Rapper, piano virtuoso, performance artist, gifted collaborator or evil, smirking genius, Jason Beck aka Chilly Gonzales crowd-surfs the academy and puts on a hell of a show in the year’s wildest, funniest music doco.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
Chilly Gonzalez, punk, rapper, pianist, iconoclast, has worked with many zeitgeist artists, including Daft Punk, Peaches, Feist and Jarvis Cocker. He is known for his piano albums full of atmospheric vignettes where a man who has so much to say lets his piano do the talking. These albums are works of spare, shimmering beauty, but beauty is not what interests Chilly Gonzalez; he has a higher (or is it lower?) goal in mind.
In his own words: “An entertainer is trying to make love to you, whereas an artist is more of a masturbator, because he wants to please himself.” Gonzalez claims to be the former but he is both. This duality is shown throughout the film, full of what at first seem like contradictions but are symbiotic parts of the same beast. He’s a punk but he appreciates infrastructure. He’s insincere yet his work is heartfelt. He’s a hack and a virtuoso. He is profound yet he frequently undercuts himself (the last line of the film is ‘Who touched my ass?’)
This is everything you could want in a film about an artist. It’s in your face and uncompromising, profound and inane, bitter and hilarious. Whether or not you’re already a fan, this is a must-see. — Duncan Sarkies