Culture Film

New York Film Festival ’11 – Of George Harrison and Gentle Guitars Weeping

The Beatles, Martin Scorsese

George Harrison: Living in the Material World is a two-part documentary made by the inimitable Martin Scorsese that shines a spotlight on the “quiet Beatle.” It took 6 years to put together, and Harrison’s wife Olivia believes only Scorsese could have captured George’s inner soul. Both were present at the NY Film Festival gala screening last night, where Scorsese himself said it took time to build up a relationship of trust with Olivia, and in turn gain access to much of the footage and photos George himself took.

For there is a lot of footage shot by George himself – home videos and behind-the-scenes images of a life lived trying to balance the spiritual with the material. Woven in with interviews from key personalities, the footage brings Harrison’s story full circle. The first part deals with The Beatles, and for many, there will be nothing new there. It is the second part that allows greater insight into the man and his music – his solo work, his benefit concerts, his foray into film producing and his family life.

There are some great interview moments – with the likes of the two-living Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (his sense of humour is delightful!), Eric Clapton (opening up about that legendary love triangle) and Tom Petty (who tells a fantastic anecdote about his Traveling Wilburys supergroup-mate). And of course, the music is lusciously intertwined through it all.

The first part of George Harrison: Living in the Material World airs on HBO tonight, the second next Wednesday.

For more, go here.


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