The dictum may hold that the song remains the same, but there is no such certainty for the band that plays it. Serving as testament to this, Matthew Buzzell's documentary charts the bittersweet final tour of the indie-rock group Luna. Over the course of thirteen years and seven albums, these New York darlings played rock lullabies to dedicated fans, but in 2004 they decided to hang up their guitars. Despite having sustained the smaller upheavals of revolving band members, Luna's final line-up of Dean Wareham, Sean Eden, Lee Wall, and Britta Phillips eventually realized that their collective songs were not resonating as they once had, and they decided to go their separate ways. Saying goodbye is rarely easy though, and their farewell tour plays as a lingering embrace. From intimate perspectives in the van, at the hotel, and on stage, Buzzell chronicles both the friction and fraternity of life on the road. Tour stories of inconvenient hangovers and inexplicable rashes are traded like battle scars, and the drone of highway scenery is reflected in the steady strum of guitars. As Luna travels through Japan, Europe, and the United States, the finality of their choice sinks in, and personal resentments give way to wistful sentimentality. Throughout this strangely sentimental rockumentary, their dreamy songs about rain-drenched romance inspire beatific head-nodding at sold-out shows and elicit impromptu eulogies from fans. More than a tour diary of a broken band, Tell Me Do You Miss Me captures the melancholic beauty of being lost in a song and lost in a memory.
Matthew received his M.F.A. from the American Film Institute, and his thesis film 6 1/2 received The Martin Ritt Foundation Award and the SACD Prize at the 1999 Brussels International Film Festival. In 2001, The Teresa Heinz Foundation commissioned Buzzell to make the documentary What A Girl Wants, which was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Buzzell's next film, Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew, which played at TFF 2003, took top honors at the 2002 Atlanta Film Festival and the 2003 Film Fest DC, as well as winning the 2004 Audience Award from viewers of PBS's Independent Lens. Also screening at the Festival is Buzzell's Putting the River in Reverse, about music legends Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint collaborating on the first major recording sessions held in post-Katrina New Orleans.