"Points of Interest" isn't a Juniper Tar rockumentary
Like points on a map or compass points, the Juniper Tar documentary, "Points of Interest," uses drops flags on a tour by the Milwaukee band and lets viewers connect the dots.
"Points of Interest" screens as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 30 at 9:30 p.m. at Landmark's Oriental Theatre.
Brew City filmmakers Jon Salimes and Anthony Lopez – and cameraman Erik Ljung – use Juniper Tar footage rather sparingly in this film that is less rockumentary than meditation about life on the road.
They followed the band out east with Philly pals Strand of Oaks, shooting footage that captures all the aspects of the tour.
Fittingly, "Points of Interest" opens on the road, passing varied landscapes, paying tolls and band members dozing in the van. Then there is arrival, load-in and sound check.
And, still, nary a word has been spoken. "Points on Interest" isn't overflowing with dialogue, either.
The directors instead let the visuals and the music do the talking.
There is a lot of downtime on the road. A lot of time spent getting from one place to another and as much time setting up and tearing down as performing on stage.
So, it seems, the balance of gig footage here seems perfect.
The rest is a rumination on the road, from the interesting people a band meets at venues, at roadside restaurants and other places, to the scenery, the boredom and the camaraderie.
Footage of Juniper Tar sitting around a campfire as Jason Mohr and Chris DeMay trade acoustic performances and, later, of the band taking a dip in a river together capture the kind of "brotherhood/sisterhood" of a rock and roll band.
There are also lengthy pensive shots of reflections in a puddle, silent save for the chirping of birds that is an artful visual and aural expression of the solitude that being in the rarefied atmosphere of a tour can bring.
If you're hoping to see Aaron Schleicher and Ryan Schleicher hurling television sets out the windows of towering hotels or seeing Tuc Krueger racing through the English countryside in a sportster, "Points of Interest" will let you down.
If you really want to see Juniper Tar at work and really want to get the feel for life on the road for a band at its level, then this is the picture for you.
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