Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
How many pop stars does it take to make a music documentary? Sixteen: One to produce the film, and 15 more to eat up screen time with banal and obvious praises. That’s the case with this David Bowienfunded Scott Walker bio. Here, Jarvis Cocker recounts the time he came down with the flu and wound up listening to Scott 3 for the first time. There, three-fourths of Radiohead discuss seeing the reclusive crooner riding on a bike. The Thin White Duke himself regales the audience with tales of dating one of the balladeer’s ex-girlfriends. But 30 Century Man makes surprisingly little room for Walker himself. An American who attained British superstardom in the ’60s as a member of the teen-pop group the Walker Brothers, Walker later floundered into a fascinatingly bizarre solo career that included everything from Jacques Brel covers to 10-minute-plus industrial grinders complete with operatic vocals. In the process, Walker lost a lot of everyday fans but apparently gained more than a few famous admirers—many of whom crowd this documentary with the kind of self-indulgent storytelling that’s usually reserved for Walker’s records. However, 30 Century Man is enjoyable in that it demystifies Walker, if only slightly. In footage shot during the recording of his 2006 album, The Drift, Walker is far from the gloomy and menacing figure one anticipates. Instead, he’s a soft-spoken 60-something man in a baseball cap who laughs gently—even as he coaches a percussionist on how to hammer a side of beef with his fists for a song about the execution of Benito Mussolini.