My Generation - This Movie Rocks The '60s - Much Like The '60s Rocked All Those On Hand
Dir: David Batty
Starring Michael Caine, Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithfull, Twiggy, Roger Daltry, David Bailey, Joan Collins, the 1960s, London, Mary Quant
Michael Caine’s voice, Waterloo Sunset – and we are away!
This quite brilliant doc – nicely written by the great Dick Clement an Ian La Frenais – takes as its initial thesis the notion of how the working class youth rose up in the 1960s to find their place in both art and society. It swiftly moves beyond that (whether it admits it or not) to become a look at the ‘60s in general and the changes that swinging London brought to the world in particular.
As such it couldn’t have a better presenter and guide than Michael Caine, seen both today, and in some great archive, guiding us through the era, and conducting (off camera) some delightful interviews with his contemporaries, from Bailey to McCartney to Daltry to Quant to Collins and more.
The movie is conceived as three acts that capture the tumultuous decade as a whole, and is backed not just by hugely evocative – and well chosen - footage but with a soundtrack that ranges from The Beatles and the Stones and The Who to Thunderclap Newman, The Kinks, The Animals and more – with each song wisely chosen for what it adds to the tale, not just to provide a stellar period soundtrack.
It’s understandably a movie awash with nostalgia, but it also has a lot to say about a time of profound societal change and is right to base its assertions on the notion of the empowerment of the working class in Great Britain. London may well be a microcosm, but it was one that was seen and felt around the world, so it's a smart move on director Batty's part to make it his ultimate focus.
My Generation tells a big story very effectively, whilst also finding time to allow Caine and co a good few genuinely amusing anecdotes, not all of which (thankfully) have been trotted out before, something largely accomplished by getting Caine to do the interviews with his mates. Blending footage of Caine from the likes of The Ipcress File, Alfie and some period documentary footage and interviews, with the actor as he is today, is also a winning device that enhances the film no end.
And the sight of Woody Allen interviewing Twiggy about her favourite philosophers is an unexpected (and previously unseen) treat!
Talkin’ bout My Generation? Talkin’ bout a film that blows the bloody doors off – and then some.
My Generation plays for one night only in UK cinemas this Wednesay, March 14th, with Sir Michael doing a live beamed-into-your-local Q & A straight after the screening. Good way to spend the Knight.
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