Serious and respectful, sometimes dizzying and disorientating, there is an energy in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film that matches its music’s pace. A documentary of a recording session convened in Jodphur by Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and including the Rajasthan Express of Sufi, Qawwali and Rajasthani Gypsy musicians alongside Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and producer Nigel Godrich, one of Junun’s most tangible pleasures is that Anderson also allows the music to speak for itself.
In long unbroken takes, we experience a fascinating mesh of melodies, rhythms and textures that attest to Junun’s cross-cultural meeting points. There are harmonium, two female vocalists (Afshana Khan and Razia Sultan), Greenwood’s Ondes Martenot (analogue synthesizer) and, amongst power outages, the jab of a marching band. As one of the musicians attests, “a very unusual coming together” indeed.