Hot Docs Preview: Mystify Michael Hutchence a Powerful Glimpse at the Price of Fame


Mystify: Michael Hutchence

There is something profoundly melancholic about Mystify: Michael Hutchence and not just because the INXS frontman died at age 37. He seemed like such a nice guy, the antithesis of the peripatetic rock star. Filmmaker Richard Lowenstein — who knew Hutchence through directing INXS videos — never takes his subject off the screen, swapping typical sit-downs with friends and family for voice-overs while archival, home movie, and concert footage rolls. Viewers are pulled straight into Hutchence’s charismatic orbit, and his eventual decline feels raw. The recollections of ex-girlfriends Michele Bennett, Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen drive the film’s key sections, notably Christensen’s revelation that Hutchence suffered a traumatic (and at the time, unreported) brain injury during an altercation with a cab driver in Copenhagen in summer 92. Though initially taken to hospital, the singer was released without proper treatment, suffering a complete loss of olfactory senses while morphing into an uncharacteristically hostile version of himself. His doomed romance with Paula Yates, who died of a heroin overdose three years after Hutchence’s death, comes off more sad than scandalous. Screening: Mon, Apr 29, 9:15 pm, Hart House Theatre; Wed, May 1 10:00 am, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sun, May 5, 1:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1. – Kim Hughes

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