Defying categorization, Roger Waters The Wall premiered this week, not just a rock concert filmed, although it is that; even more, in a classic Oedipal journey, Roger Waters seeks his paternity, the father and grandfather he did not know. The casualties of the two world wars, these men become the objects of a quest in a 1961 Bentley Waters bought specifically for this odyssey. The elongated vehicle snakes comically on winding cliff-side roads as he travels from France to Italy, to the battlefield at Anzio where his father fell. Driving, he waxes philosophic with his passenger Willa Rawlinson, who proclaims in poetic heaviness, the two wars erased any memory of fathers, and, the smell of one's grandson and the blessing of Zeus, the king of gods, are one and the same thing.
This epic road trip goes far to deepen Roger Waters' anti-war message. The Wall does come down in glorious color. And Waters' get-up in leathers against Nazi red banners, swastikas implied, is a terrifying satiric look at rock star dictators and their immense power to dehumanize, or at least resemble the huge crowds attending concerts, arms swaying, many wearing Dark Side of the Moon tee-shirts.
The film has a curious plan, to be shown as an event for one night only, tonight in 500 theaters in the United States including the Ziegfeld where it premiered yesterday, and in 2,200 others worldwide. A DVD is in the works to be available for Christmas. At a lavish after party at the Redeye Grill, Roger Waters greeted his editor Katie Mcquerrey and producer Clare Spencer. An odd chartreuse cricket landed on Clare's bosom. "For God's sake," exclaimed Waters, "don't kill that living thing."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.