It seemed like, in the early seventies, everything was possible in the cinema. From Jodorowski to John Waters, cinema was being elevated to a higher art, mainly thanks to the influence of the French New Wave. This influence was also stretched into the concert film, which was very popular at the time thanks to the Woodstock documentary. A lot of filmmakers were involved in the genre, like Godard and Scorcese, and this particular film’s director… Ringo Starr? That’s right, this film was directed by the man who played drums for The Beatles, and I have to say he had a good eye, I wonder why he never directed much else, at least nothing as ambitious as this. He stuck to acting, and the less said about his acting career, the better. Anyone remember Caveman? Ugh.Anyway this documentary centers around Marc Bolan’s seminal glam-rock band, T-Rex, the band that gave us such great songs as “20th Century Boy”, “Bang A Gong” and “Children of the Revolution”. The best scenes, as you can imagine, are the live performances, where we get to see the band kicking ass in their most natural environment. However, the movie does cross a very weird line during it’s sequences in between songs, with bad comedy ruling the scene. Particularly surreal is seeing Marc Bolan with a top hat and clown makeup driving around with a guy in a bear suit. What the fuck am I watching? I just wanted to watch some rock n’ roll! There are also sequences that merge the weird with the performance scenes, the best being the scene where the band plays “Children of the Revolution” in a room full of mirrors and Ringo, with a camera and clown makeup, recording them. Yeah, drugs were good back in the day. Ringo joins in once in a while to play drums, which is pretty cool, and we also get a visit from Elton John in some song sequences.
Sadly, Marc Bolan died in 1979 in a car accident, and so did T-Rex. It was the end of an era, and this documentary/surrealist film shows us what it might have been like in it’s fantasy, glittery world. Definitely recommended to fans of classic rock n’ roll and weird cinema in general.