Kieran Evans | 2008 | 89 mins | UK
Singer/songwriter, Vashti Bunyan's 1970 release, Just Another Diamond Day is a document in song of her journey by horse-drawn cart in search of Skype, the artist commune established by folkie and star of Jacques Demy's under appreciated, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Donovan. The album was originally released in very limited qualities, and sold poorly. Vashti gave up on music, and went on to live a 'normal' life, raising a family, and not giving much more thought to her music career. But then 30 years later, the album was re-released in 2000, and found to have a devoted following. With this new found old success, Vashti set out on a tour supporting the re-release, and recorded a new album, shortly after.
In Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before, Kieran Evans travels with Vashti to many of the stops that she and her boyfriend made back in the late '60s in their horse and cart. The landscapes are gorgeous, and while it was a lovely time for them, I'm sure; when they arrive at each new location, there inevitably isn't much of a story to tell about it. Stories of being asked to get off of someone's land, the purchasing of their horse and cart, their struggles with poverty, etc. are all fine and part of an interesting story, but not one that can sustain a feature-length runtime.
Vashti Bunyan: From Here to There would have been a much fuller and more satisfying film if more time had been given to performance footage (there's not much here, and what of it there is is rather flat) or to have spent some time on the years between the release and the re-release of the album. It would have been fascinating to see what shaped Vashti from restless hippy goddamn super babe in the '60s to the warm, well spoken, and lovely woman now in her 60s that we watch retrace her steps of nearly forty years ago.