The singer’s visit to war zones and refugee camps for musical inspiration feels ill-judged Musician PJ Harvey travels to Afghanistan, Syria and Washington DC with photographer Seamus Murphy, recording her thoughts and gathering inspiration for an album that she subsequently records in a specially constructed studio in Somerset House in London. Yikes. What was intended as an examination of the creative process backfires and becomes instead an inadvertent chronicle of oblivious privilege. Harvey wafts through scenes of poverty and devastation, then returns to her cocoon of a studio. I have no doubt that the project was well-intentioned, but the editing – cutting from the abject desperation of migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border to Harvey noodling about with traditional instruments from the region – feels glib. Very few of the people who Harvey meets on her journey are developed as characters. The result is an ill-judged film in which suffering becomes scenery.
Read full story