Lost in France review – love letter to an indie record label

A nostalgic look at Glasgow’s Chemikal Underground, complete with interviews with key players from the Delgados, Franz Ferdinand and more

Intercut with VHS and Super-8 archive inserts, Niall McCann’s documentary is part concert film, part nostalgic love letter to Glaswegian indie record label Chemikal Underground and the Scottish socialism of its 1990s heyday. Members of the Delgados, Franz Ferdinand and Bis offer colourful anecdotes, though even superfans may find their patience waning when Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite starts spouting platitudes about how music “can’t be quantified”.

Far more interesting than their personal ruminations are the musicians’ reflections on Glasgow as a post-industrial creative hub and their memories of the welfare state that once enabled the scene to thrive. “Nobody I knew was idle,” remembers Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, in a reminder that it was dole money that allowed artists to “resource themselves” and labels to take risks.

Watch the trailer for Lost in France.

Contributor

Simran Hans

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
On the Record review – #MeToo music doc is essential viewing
Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s intersectional approach to exploring sexual abuse in the music industry is candid and empathetic

Wendy Ide

28, Jun, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week review – fab four, fab film
Using rare footage, director Ron Howard puts us right in the audience in this exceptional account of the band on tour

Wendy Ide

18, Sep, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
The Sparks Brothers review – a match made in heaven
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright is a perfect fit for the absurdist antics of art pop’s most elusive duo in this stranger-than-fiction documentary

Mark Kermode Observer film critic

01, Aug, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love – affecting, despite Nick Broomfield
Director Nick Broomfield tries to make it about him, but love wins out in his story of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen

Wendy Ide

28, Jul, 2019 @7:00 AM

Article image
Muqata’a: ‘Our music is a way to disrupt, to be a glitch in the system’
The Palestinian rapper on the power of Ramallah’s dance culture documented in a new film, Palestine Underground

Interview by Kieran Yates

20, Oct, 2018 @1:00 PM

Article image
Summer of Soul review – the best concert film ever made?
Questlove’s magnificent documentary features rediscovered footage of Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone et al in their prime

Mark Kermode Observer film critic

18, Jul, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
A Poem Is a Naked Person review – a better slideshow than a documentary
This newly released 70s study of singer-songwriter Leon Russell has a retro beauty to its footage that surpasses its subject

Wendy Ide

10, Jul, 2016 @6:59 AM

Article image
Bayou Maharajah review – like trying to bottle lightning
This documentary captures the prowess of New Orleans pianist James Carroll Booker but not quite the myth

Wendy Ide

10, Jul, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Sing Your Song – review
Veteran campaigning musician Harry Belafonte emerges as a wise and powerful figure in this excellent documentary, writes Philip French

Philip French

09, Jun, 2012 @11:03 PM

Article image
The Punk Syndrome – review

Jukka Kärkkäinen's documentary about a Finnish punk band proves immensely watchable, writes Philip French

Philip French

03, Feb, 2013 @12:03 AM