Head on over to the newly spruced up Pitchfork where, for one week only, they are showing the Elliott Smith documentary/short film 'Strange Parallel'.
I had this film a long time ago on a video bootleg, but watching it again reminded me of how much Elliott Smith's music meant, and indeed still means, to me.
'Strange Parallel' was made in 1998 as a promo around the time that Smith signed to Dreamworks and released the album 'XO'. By no means a straight up promotional film, the short begins with a film crew looking for a reclusive Smith, who we find in a wood, digging up a guitar and playing a lovely version of "Waltz #2 (XO)" cross legged in the dirt.
The film follows Elliott Smith from a recording session in Portland to New York where it splits off on a surreal tangent about a robot hand, which was based on a dream that Smith had discussed with director Steve Hanft. Amongst many highlights, 'Strange Parallel' features a beautiful, but brief, rendition of the George Harrison song "Isn't It A Pity?" played by Smith alone at the piano.
Ghosts In The Snow has some fantastic stills from 'Strange Parallel' here.
If you don't have the appetite or inclination to watch the whole 30 minutes plus of 'Strange Parallel', or even if you do, I highly recommend seeking out and watching the 1996 Jem Cohen short 'Lucky Three', which is a stunning 11 minute short film that features Elliott Smith playing "Between The Bars" and "Angeles" from the album 'Either/Or', as well as a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen".
Watch: Strange Parallel
Elliott Smith on Myspace
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Previously on SOTR: Elliott Smith