In addition to recording as Sun Kil Moon and previously fronting Red House Painters, Mark Kozelek has done some acting in his day. He has a role in Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s new movie Youth, which was being translated as The Early Years at one point. The movie, which stars Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, and Harvey Keitel, premiered at Cannes this week. Now that the reviews are in, the nature of Kozelek’s role has been both clarified and confused.
The nature of his part is now clear: Kozelek is one of several performers who supplies musical interludes during the film, which sounds like it’s a highly enjoyable mood piece despite lacking much of a plot. The confusing element is whether Kozelek is appearing as himself or in character. Although Kozelek told Pitchfork last year that he plays a friend of Dano’s character, Screen Daily simply identifies him as Kozelek:
But in true Sorrentino style, Youth is choreographed as much as narrated. It oozes a love for music’s transforming powers – represented here both in the regular hotel evening entertainment acts (one of whom is US singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek) that act as chapter dividers, and a marvellous soundtrack by contemporary American composer David Lang, whose music stands in for Fred’s own compositions.
Similarly, The Independent says Kozelek plays himself:
The film plays like it’s been split into a series of songs, some better than others that come together to create a great album. It opens with a classic Sorrentino pan, a camera circling like a revolving door around a character, here a singer. There are a series of musical interludes with songs ranging from pop classics to opera with Palamo Faith, Mark Kozelek and Sumi Jo all playing themselves.
Given that Kozelek appears on stage performing music, it probably doesn’t matter much whether he’s portraying himself or not. Either way, I want to see this movie — it’s generating Oscar buzz for Caine, who’s won twice for Best Supporting Actor but never for Best Actor. Watch the trailer below.
UPDATE: Pitchfork posted details of the soundtrack, which features three Kozelek songs (one as Sun Kil Moon, two as Mark Kozelek) plus David Byrne, Bill Callahan, Paloma Faith, and more. It’s scheduled for overseas release 5/26. Check out the tracklist below.
01 The Retrosettes Sister Band: “You Got the Love”
02 Mark Kozelek: “Onward”
03 Sun Kil Moon: “Third and Seneca”
04 Gianluca Cascioli: “Préludes (Book 1) – Des pas sur la neige (No. 6): Triste et lent”
05 Susan Patterson: “Mercadante: Virginia (Atto I) Cavatina ‘Figlia tu scuoti'”
06 Maria Letizia Gorga, Stefano De Meo, Marco Colonna, Laura Pierazzuoli: “À ma manière”
07 The Retrosettes Sister Band: “Reality”
01 Paloma Faith: “Can’t Rely on You”
02 Bill Callahan: “The Breeze / My Baby Cries”
03 Mark Kozelek: “Ceiling Gazing”
04 David Byrne: “Dirty Hair”
05 Terry Davies: “Stravinsky’s Berceuse da “L’oiseau de feu – ‘The Firebird'”
06 Trio Medieval, Garth Knox, Agnes Vesterman, Sylvain Lemetre: “Just (After Song of Songs)”
07 Sumi Jo: “Simple Song #3″
08 The Berlin Radio Chorus: “Mick’s Dream” (bonus track)
09 David Lang: ” Wood Symphony” (bonus track)