By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 20, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Everyone's talking "Exile on Main Street" these days, thanks to a sparkling new reissue of the Rolling Stones' landmark 1972 double LP. And also, in part, due to the hour-long documentary, "Stones in Exile," which looks at the creation of this much-ballyhooed record.

The DVD of the Stones-produced film is released on Tuesday, June 22, but you can get a sneak preview of the film Monday at 8:30 p.m. at The Times Cinema, 6823 W. Vliet St. Best of all, admission is free.

While Stones fans looking for an unvarnished, behind the scenes documentary packed with revelations will be sorely disappointed. So will folks who are easily seasickened as the camera appears to have been held by a kangaroo for most of the film. Funky angles and constant, rapid motion are the norm.

The film opens and closes with some pretty worthless snippets of stars like Benicio Del Toro (?!), Sheryl Crow, Jack White and Will.I.Am talking about the record. What's especially curious in the opening clips is that at least some of the folks don't really seem to know much about the record. Only the brief commentaries by Don Was -- who produced the latest "Exile" CD reissue -- really say anything about the impact of "Exile."

But for more casual fans or folks just looking for the quick back story, "Stones in Exile" is an entertaining picture. There is great footage from the era and lots of interviews with the Stones and others involved, including actor Jake Weber who was there as a young boy with his parents, who were friends of the band.

Just before the making of "Exile on Main Street," the Stones fired and then were locked in a legal battle with a manager who attempted to usurp control and royalties and neglected to pay the band members' taxes.

Facing a mountain of debt -- and claiming they had little cash on hand to cover that debt and move forward -- the Stones decamped to the south of France where Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg set up shop in a massive mansion above Villefranche-sur-Mer that had been built by Admiral Byrd.

We never quite come to understand how the supposedly cash-strapped Richards manages to rent (or buy) this "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous"-style abode, but, it's not long before all the Stones and their families and crew and some hangers on are there.

The Stones' own mobile recording unit parked outside, a studio is set up in the basement, where it is hot and damp and the electrical system is apparently wonky. And there's a bit of whinging about how tough it is to be a rock star in self-imposed "exile," but the Stones somehow find the fortitude to soldier on.

Their personal lives up in the air, the band finds itself at something of a crossroads -- the perfect blues metaphor -- and the sessions are intense yet wandering and the whole thing seems a little directionless.

At some point, after countless 12-hour sessions, everyone agrees the magic has been exhausted and the house quiets down briefly.

Perhaps inevitably -- since the recording could be heard all night down in the town -- the French authorities get wind of the scent of hash and weed, hear the clanking of the Jack Daniel's bottles and rumors about smack on tap and Richards and Pallenberg wisely say "adieu" to France.

The Stones head to L.A. with their scraps and piece together what becomes "Exile on Main Street." Some songs are fairly accomplished, others have only hints of lyrics and still others have none at all.

Desperate to finish this project that has since started to wear on the nerves of its makers, Mick Jagger writes phrases on scraps of paper and tosses them on the floor and begins to reassemble them, randomly, into lyrics.

So, it makes perfect sense that "Exile on Main Street" feels ramshackle and wandering and spontaneous and, sometimes, even unfinished.

Because, really, it is all of those things. And considering the lives the Stones were living at the time, "Exile on Main Street" is an audio portrait of that moment. But it is exhilarating and exciting, too.

Nowadays, the record is a touchstone for young and roots rock musicians and fans for its mix of blues, country, rock and other organic styles.

While it's a shame that director Stephen Kijak opts for a considerably more self-conscious filmmaking style in this documentary, he still manages to tell the story of the making of a rock and roll masterpiece.

But while "Exile on Main Street" feels stark naked, "Stones in Exile" feels pretty heavily whitewashed.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.