Border Radio (Criterion Collection)

Video and DVD

Feb 21, 2007 at 2:06 pm
Border Radio

1987, Rated R

Allison Anders has directed two of the better movies made about the Rock & Roll lifestyle — Grace of My Heart and Sugar Town. You can see just how deep her feel for the subject matter runs in this "lost" film, made while she and co-directors/writers Dean Lent and Kurt Voss were still at UCLA film school. Shot in beautifully shaded tones on 16-mm black-and-white reversal film, Border Radio has the minimalist grandeur and love for landscape of a Jim Jarmusch movie. Set amid the workaday world of L.A.'s musicians, it stars the balding Chris D. of the Flesh Eaters as a rocker on the lam in Mexico while his music-journalist wife (Luanna Anders) and friends search for him. Low-keyed and improvised (perhaps a bit too improvised as the story peters out toward the end) with good music and some attractive secondary characters (Dave Alvin has a nice scene at a club), it really captures its subjects' lives with an easy-going, offbeat realism. Extras include a short documentary on the film's making. For the Ashland, Ky.-born Anders, this was a fitting start. (Steven Rosen) Grade: B