"Everybody must make a decision in their hearts about how they want to live"
Canadian folk rock legend Neil Young said he has lost all hope that music can change the world, as he presented a documentary about his 2006 anti-war concert tour at the Berlin film festival on Friday.
"I know that the time when music could change the world is past. I really doubt that a single song can make a difference. It is a reality," Young told reporters.
"I don't think the tour had any impact on voters."
But the silver-haired frontman of the sixties supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young nonetheless dealt US President George W. Bush a stinging, back-handed insult and said his own "naive" urge to make people think remains intact.
"He is a very good physical specimen. He shows that a man his age can stay in physical condition," said Young, who is 62.
He made no distinction between the Vietnam War, during which CSNY first earned their reputation as political activists, and the US-led war in Iraq which their tour condemned with songs like "Let's Impeach The President".
"It is all the same war and it hurts everybody. It's a wrong way to solve a problem," he said, adding that Americans were deluded if they thought they were liberating Iraq.
"We just don't have to go and spread democracy around the world."
Young said he deliberately included interviews with unimpressed critics and soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the documentary of his band's "Freedom of Speech" reunion tour, which earned them both praise and death threats.
"Otherwise I thought it would just feel like a bunch of old hippies. And nobody would care. I would not, I would have left," said Young, who directs his films under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey.
"I wanted to serve the people who came to see the shows, to serve the soldiers who fought in the war and to serve the people who started the war. It sounds naive but everybody has to make a decision in their hearts about how they want to live."
"CSNY: Deja Vu", which borrows its title from an album the band released in 1970, had its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
It is screening in the Berlinale Special section of the Berlin festival, which has this year made music a headline act by bringing The Rolling Stones, Madonna and rock poetess Patti Smith to town.
Martin Scorcese's Stones concert film "Shine A Light" opened the festival with a bang on Thursday night and the Oscar-winning director said he wanted to pay tribute to the vintage rockers as they had inspired his work from "Mean Streets" through to "The Departed."
Coming days will see screenings of Madonna's directorial debut, "Filth and Wisdom," movies about Sudanese hip-hop artists and Argentinian tango and "Om Shanti Om", the Bollywood song and dance blockbuster.
Patti Smith will attend a screening of a documentary on her career and play a sold-out concert on the festival sidelines.
Young, who managed the quirky feat of singing every line of dialogue in his 2003 film "Greendale" said music was a "primal subject" for the movies.
But the genre has changed little in his time, he added.
"I have not seen tremendous growth, any evolution really. From the Sinatra years, The Who's 'The Kids Are Alright' ... directors have always made films about music culture. There have been some great ones though."
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