Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Film Review: Beautiful Was the Fight

Beautiful Was the Fight
, the new documentary feature from Dave Habeeb, started out at a Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys show. (I believe it was this one.) It was Habeeb's first time seeing Ruby Rose Fox, and he decided he wanted to make a documentary short about her. He filmed during her Queen Treatment Only Festival the next month, but upon seeing other artists like When Particles Collide, Sarah Blacker, and Haley Jane & The Primates, his short documentary about one artist expanded to a feature length documentary about women in the Boston music scene.

This documentary is going to appeal to just about any reader of If It's Too Loud... based solely on the artists that are included in Beautiful Was the Fight. It features artists we regularly cover such as the aforementioned Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys and Ruby Rose Fox, as well as other favorites including Sapling, Wyn Doran, Liz Bills & the Change, Stormstress, Carissa Johnson, and more. 

There is some discussion about the trials women have to face in the Boston music scene, from being dismissed as musicians to creepy and violating DMs, but that's definitely not the focus of the film. Habeeb uses the film to truly celebrate the Boston music scene. It's a representation of how diverse and welcoming the music scene here can be to people of all backgrounds and orientations. Rap, metal, punk, indie rock, folk, jazz, singer/songwriters are all represented in Beautiful Was the Fight without any real preferences or categorizing by genre. All artists are treated equally.

It does spend a lot of time on how difficult it is for musicians in Boston to be able to make a living purely on music. New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville are all towns with a music industry, while Boston is more focused on colleges, history, and sports with the arts getting basically ignored. Plus, a lot of since closed music venues are featured. Hearing how important ONCE Ballroom was to the scene was a gutpunch as it has since closed.

Habeeb doesn't really follow a narrative or a throughline with his film. It kind of meanders between topics as it uses a mixture of talking head interviews, live performances, and videos to move around. This technique works surprisingly well with the subject, and the ninety minute runtime blew right by.

For more information on Dave Habeeb and Beautiful Was the Fight, follow the director on his Instagram.

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