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Makes Goodfellas look like a gangster movie

Bananaz, also known as Gorillaz Go Bananaz, is a documentary film by filmmaker and director Ceri Levy about the real-world history of Gorillaz.

The film was screened at four film festivals in 2008 with the premiere being on 7 February 2008. It was later published digitally on BabelgumW on 20 April 2009, and released on DVD on 1 June 2009.

Synopsis[]

Before filming[]

Ceri had known Gorillaz co-creator Damon Albarn since his Blur days, having even directed a 1993 documentary titled Starshaped. This documentary showed behind-the-scenes, live and interview footage from the time and even featured fellow Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett.

Phase One (Jan 2000 - July 2002)[]

Seven years after releasing Blur's Starshaped documentary, Ceri Levy would start to film Damon and Jamie once more, this time as Gorillaz. According to an interview on the Hallelujah Monkeyz podcast, Ceri would visit Damon and Jamie often and be told about the Gorillaz concept early on. He then decided one day to film them. The documentary started filming started in January 2000 at Kong Studios (referring to Damon's Studio 13).

The first section of the documentary features footage of multiple different occasions from the early years of Gorillaz, including but not limited to early artwork and illustrations by Jamie Hewlett; recording sessions from the debut album, notably including Ibrahim Ferrer's vocal take for Latin Simone (Que Pasa Contigo); live performances from the Gorillaz Live Tour (2001-2002), where he'd showcase footage of the live band, at the time, playing the music live behind the cinema screen; little snippets of the production of Charts Of Darkness and the recording of the vocal dubs for the G-Bitez with Nelson De Freitas, Phil Cornwell, Haruka Kuroda and Remi Kabaka Jr.. This section ends with a live performance of Punk from 2002 before transitioning into the net phase of the band.

Phase Two (Sep 2004 - Apr 2006)[]

Despite being informed about Gorillaz' comeback late in the process, Ceri did manage to capture some recording sessions for the then-upcoming album Demon Days, including songs such as Rockit and Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head and of the Demon Detour Sessions at Sarm West Studios. Ceri stated that he wanted to capture more live footage of the band this time around, leading to the Phase Two section of the film containing more behind-the-scenes footage of the band during the Demon Days Live shows.

The portion of the documentary dedicated to Demon Days was shorter than the screen time given to the debut album, which was probably caused by the lack of film Ceri would jave been able to capture by coming into the Demon Days sessions late. Notably, this section also contains a scene of Damon trying to convince a reporter that the lyrics for Dirty Harry weren't as dark and controversial as she thought as the lyrics sheet she had been handed was changed without his knowledge. The documentary ends with Damon completing a cigarette trick at the backstage of the Harlem concert.

After Filming[]

After filming was finished, Ceri found out that the documentary spanned over 300 hours of footage. So, to decrease the chance of removing anything crucial, he would create a second version released on the DVD version of the documentary, titled 'Home Club Version'. For the promotion of the film, a dedicated official website was created, https://www.bananazfilm.com/ (which is till up to date, despite not being updated since 2009). This, however, started a 'war' between Ceri and Murdoc Niccals. Murdoc claimed that the documentary was not accurate to Gorillaz' true story and that it featured Damon and Jamie far too much, who 'weren't the people behind the Gorillaz'. Murdoc's Answerphone Message is a drunken audio message left by Murdoc on the answerphone of Ceri. The message was released by Levy himself on the official Bananaz blog, as part of a feud that was transpiring between the two at the time. In the message, Murdoc informs Levy that he had created an anti-Bananaz Facebook page to protest the film and that if enough people joined he had intentions to present it to the British Film InstituteW as a means of getting the documentary banned. This ended with Levi leaking Murdoc's Sex Tape with an unnamed woman.

When asked why he did not continue to film Damon and Jamie into Plastic Beach in a 2017 interview for the Hallelujah Monkeyz podcast, Ceri stated that he felt it was time to move on and that the boys (Damon and Jamie) would just get tired of him following them around.

In 2010, a documentary titled The Making Of Plastic Beach, directed by Seb Monk, was released as part of the Experience Edition of Plastic Beach. This documentary, however, felt lacklustre compared to Bananaz, as it only included footage from the recording of the album and making of the model island with no direct interviews or live footage.

In 2017, a new documentary titled Gorillaz: Reject False Icons, directed by Denholm Hewlett, was released. It was formatted similarly to Bananaz and even documented two albums along with live footage similarly to Bananaz. Ceri has not publically commented on the band or on any of Damon or Jamie's projects since 2017, but still maintains occasional contact with Damon.

Cast[]

Home Club Version[]

Credits[]

Producer[]

  • Rachel Connors
  • Ceri Levy
  • Cara Speller
  • Sias Wilson

Editing[]

  • Sebastian Monk

Sound Department[]

  • Robert Farr

Visual Effects[]

  • Ruben Gerardo
  • Alfaro Moreno

Full Documentary[]

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • Ceri Levy confirmed on a Reddit AMA session that he filmed over 300 hours of footage, and the film's original cut was supposed to be 19 hours long and included footage of the recording of various other songs, such as Dracula.
  • The DVD release included additional scenes and extras not included in the prior releases of the documentary, such as footage from certain live performances.
  • One of the many deleted scenes from the documentary showcased the recording process of DARE, with Shaun Ryder and Rosie Wilson, but was cut due to an error with Ceri's microphone.[citation needed]
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