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On 7 July 2018, almost forty years after the release of their iconic debut single, goth rock pioneers The Cure took to the stage at Hyde Park in London to perform a career-spanning set which the Independent would describe as ’emotional, note-perfect’ before declaring that the band had ‘cemented their immortality.’ Opening with two songs from their 1989 masterpiece Disintegration, fans were treated to such classics as Just Like Heaven, Friday I’m in Love and Boys Don’t Cry, an epic set that would total twenty-nine tracks that culminated with 1978’s Killing an Arab.
Prior to their appearance at the BST Hyde Park festival The Cure had already revealed plans to produce a documentary that would chart the last four decades of their career, from their humble beginnings in the mid-1970s as Malice to the iconic rock legends that they would become. ‘I knew a few people wanted to – what’s a nice way of saying exploit? – celebrate the fortieth anniversary with projects,’ explained frontman Robert Smith in an interview with the Guardian a month prior to their London show. ‘I said no but I knew that they would probably go ahead anyway unless I made it very obvious that we were doing something.’
The band would join forces with Tim Pope, an acclaimed filmmaker whose association with The Cure began in 1982 when he shot the promo video for their single Let’s Go to Bed. Over the next decade Pope would shoot videos for some of their most well-known songs, from The Caterpillar and Close to Me to ’90s hits Never Enough and High. While his foray into the world of motion pictures would prove disastrous after losing creative control of the critically-reviled sequel The Crow: City of Angels, Pope would return to the world of promos for such artists as the Darkness and Fatboy Slim. But it would not only be The Cure that would cement his reputation during the 1980s, as Pope would also form creative partnerships with the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Psychedelic Furs and the Pretenders, proving to be a key influence in the goth rock scene of the decade.
So, 2018 will see me collaborating with Robert on a feature-length, chronological documentary of The Cure’s history from the 1970s via present day to the future,’ revealed Pope in a 2017 tweet. ‘Robert himself will tell the story and this will work alongside other events for the band’s forty-year celebration.’ While biopics have become rather commonplace in the industry following the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, with feature films based on the lives of Mötley Crüe and Elton John following in its wake, Pope instead intended to use achieve material to document the band’s rise from the small clubs of the ’70s to the beloved phenomenon that they would ultimately become.
Through the first three decades of their career The Cure released a steady flow of studio albums but it has been eleven years since their last offering. ‘Though it’s billed as the upbeat side of The Cure‘s abandoned double record (the dark half is being saved for a future release), 4:13 Dream hardly constitutes Smith’s bid for the backyard barbecue,’ stated the A.V. Club in their 2008 review of the album. ‘Smith sounds like he’s clawing his way out of a self-pitying funk – and even though another one is always around the corner it’s good to know he still has some fight left.’ The teased second half of the album would never materialise, with the only offering this being last years Torn Down, a remix album and spiritual sequel to 1990s Mixed Up, a record that included the fan favourite Close to Me (Closer Mix).
Earlier this year, however, Smith announced that they had completed work on their fourteenth album, which promised to return to the dark beauty of their earlier work. ‘Because it’s the anniversary of Disintegration I was thinking about how we did that and how we turned that into something and what my mindset was,’ explained Smith in an interview with Rolling Stone. ‘It’s so dark. It’s incredibly intense. And I’ve waited ten years to do something that means something. It’s going to work really well. I’m not sure how much of it we’ll play this summer at festivals. It’s not really festival music. The songs are like ten minutes, twelve minutes long. We recorded nineteen songs. So I have no idea what to do now’
While fans wait for a final track-list to be decided and a release date announced, Pope has announced that The Cure‘s 2018 performance at Hyde Park will be released as a concert film, in which audiences will be able to see performances of classics like Pictures of You and Burn in high definition. This will be their first live video release since Festival 2005, which itself was not one complete show but comprised of footage from various different performances but the promotional tour of their eponymous 2004 album. ‘Yes, it’s true what Robert has announced – that our film of Hyde Park will hit cinemas in early summer,’ he stated via Twitter, insinuating that the film will be making its way to the cinema. ‘A global release, it marks the first time to see The Cure on the big screen since Orange. I shot it in groovy 4K and we mixed at Abbey Road in glorious 5:1 surround sound.’ In a second tweet he continued, ‘No point to say more for now but we have worked long and hard on this to give a truly cinematic experience. Just a couple of screen grabs to whet your appetite. More announcements to come in next few weeks.’