D.I.Y. Or Die: Burn This DVD Michael W. Dean

The interview list reads like a who's who of do it yourself American punk: Ian MacKaye, Lydia Lunch, Mike Watt, Steve Albini, Tribe 8, etc. But rather than jumping on the recent trend eulogising the '80s Amerindie underground, documentarian Dean asks the basic questions that most interviewers would deem too obvious, starting with: why do you make art? Far from being a punk flick, Dean extends the question to writers, photographers, performance artists, dancers, comic artists, painters, sculptors, and his friendly neighbourhood musicians who survive in much deeper obscurity than Fugazi. Although MacKaye gets the most screen time - because of his eloquent answers, not his higher profile - all the other subjects are treated equally. The thrust of the film is their universal experience as artists who create without any desire for outside validation, who do it purely for their own sanity. We only get glimpses of each artist's work, which appear more as afterthoughts or segues to people discussing their means, not their ends. Dean is not a stellar interviewer, but he successfully edits the wealth of material into a coherent narrative. Dean doesn't glamorise the indie struggle, but everyone in the film couldn't imagine living their lives any other way. If our education system had any guts, D.I.Y. or Die would be shown by guidance counsellors to inspire and inform artsy high school freaks everywhere. Extras: expanded and new interviews. (www.DIYorDie.org)