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'Control' to End Season for International Film Series

RELEASED: April 30, 2008

poster for ControlEAU CLAIRE — "Control" (2007) — a profile of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the post-punk band Joy Division who ended his own life at 23 — will close this season's International Film Series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire May 8-11.

Based on the book "Touching from a Distance" (1995), written by Curtis' wife Deborah, the film will screen at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Ian Curtis (Sam Riley) has aspirations beyond the trappings of small-town life in 1970s England. Wanting to emulate musical heroes such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop, he joins a band, and his musical ambition begins to thrive. Soon, though, the everyday fears and emotions that fuel his music begin to eat away at him. Married young, with a daughter, he is distracted from his family commitments by a new love and the growing expectations of his band. The strain manifests itself in his health, with epilepsy adding to his guilt and depression.

Curtis committed suicide in 1980, on the eve of his band's departure for an American tour.

"Of course, from its very first frame, 'Control' is shadowed by intimations of its main character's imminent mortality," wrote New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. "The challenge facing [first-time director Anton] Corbijn, a celebrity photographer who took pictures of the real Joy Division a few months before Mr. Curtis died, is how to tell this story of great promise and early death without turning it into yet another exercise in pop martyrology. ... Where it might have been literal-minded and sentimental, it is instead enigmatic and moving, much in the manner of Joy Division's best songs.

"You hear a lot of these on the soundtrack, flawlessly performed by Mr. Riley and the other members of the cast (Joe Anderson on bass, James Anthony Pearson on guitar and Harry Treadaway as the wisecracking drummer) who turned themselves into an uncannily persuasive tribute band."

Shot in beautifully calibrated black-and-white, the 121-minute film is rated R.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby and will be sold at the door.

-30-

JS/NW

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