As the sun fades to dusk in Kosovo, five different calls to prayer sing out over the city. Harmonious and discordant, PJ Harvey remarks, “I felt my soul open to the singing.”
PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy have been collaborating for a decade. A Dog Called Money is their magnum opus; a politically and artistically-driven film shot over the course of three years. The pair visited Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the lesser-spoken-of suburbs of Washington DC, exploring misrepresented cultures overlooked by mainstream media.
In A Dog Called Money, Murphy splices these scenes with the recording of Harvey’s last record, The Hope Six Demolition Project. A further daring test to push her boundaries, Harvey recorded Hope Six in a specially-built studio at Somerset House. She then invited the public to come and watch the process. Laughs and jokes are shared, but not to the detriment of the worldwide issues that inspired the material.
The film explores all aspects of Harvey’s process: the inspiration – those calls to prayer, baptisms, war, music; the recording – songs that made the album, songs that didn’t; and the notes she took while in the field. All of these make it to the screen. At one point, in Southeast DC, a boy takes Murphy on a tour of his neighbourhood, pointing out every spot where a member of his family was shot. At another, a group of children offer Harvey some tea.
On 1st November, A Dog Called Money will be premiering at the Barbican Centre. As part of the Doc’n Roll Film Festival, the audience will be treated to a screening of the film and a Q&A with director, Seamus Murphy.
In a world where the UK doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing, A Dog Called Money and its accompanying album, The Hope Six Demolition Project are timely insights into what really matters: art, music, and the fragile bonds of humanity.
A Dog Called Money premieres at The Barbican on Friday 1st November as part of Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival, with a Q&A featuring Seamus Murphy. More info here.