Ibiza: The Silent Movie Review
Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, has become world-famous for its wild nightlife and, in recent years, its pounding electronic dance music and being the landmark of selfie-taking and endless Instagram posts. The reason why Ibiza is such a popular tourist attraction hasn't really been explored until now. Directed by Julien Temple, Ibiza: The Silent Movie takes you on a hypnotic - although sometimes convoluted - journey through the island's long history.
As the title suggests, the film does not contain any dialogue. Despite this, it is far from being a straight-up silent movie. The electronic soundtrack is energetic, loud, fun and exciting. If dialogue was also included, the film would feel too cluttered and noisy, so this was a smart choice on Temple's part. Refreshingly, it also utilises vibrant animation and actors recreating certain moments of the island's history - it's certainly a unique way of telling the story, but a very welcome one. The visual creativity is the documentary's greatest strength.
However, the visuals can occasionally become quite jarring. The history is told through flashcards, and some of the font choices used feel out of place and are not always the easiest to read. Also, due to the quick pace of the documentary, it is difficult at times to figure out when one sentence ends and another begins. I suppose the flashiness does reflect on the bright and fast-paced environment of Ibiza, but it can get pretty distracting. There were a few points were I had to skip the documentary back to understand what was going on.
Temple is known for directing films about punk rock stars, so he knows all too well about portraying the crazy life of sex, drugs and alcohol. His experience in this field makes him a suitable candidate for the job, and his recreations of some of the island's key moments of history prove to be one of the documentary's highlights. There are scenes were the Happy Mondays' very own Bez is, appropriately, playing Bes, the God of Dance; these scenes are very mesmerising and beautifully filmed.
The film, however, does not shy away from the darker elements of the island's history; from Nazi involvement to Ibiza's lack of water supply, the clubbing resort has had its fair share of serious issues. The water supply in particular has been one of the main problems in recent years, as many drug-induced tourists failed to have water available to help them power through their intoxicated states. You can only imagine how many people gave died as a result of this.
And then there is, of course, the influence of Britons on the island. People from Manchester and Liverpool who allegedly introduced many fellow tourists to ecstasy, contributing to the island's reputation for being a drug and sex-crazed attraction. It does seem somewhat inevitable that the island became what it is today, given the fact that it was home to the God of Dance and had many hippies flocking to it during the latter half of the 20th century. Ibiza: The Silent Movie may not be the most classy or respectable documentary out there, and its lack of focus can make the experience of watching feel puzzling. Nevertheless, considering how drug-fuelled and care-free the island is, this stylistic choices feel appropriate. They just may not be stylistic choices that will satisfy everyone.