Sunday, October 9, 2011

Martin Scorsese: Raw Icon ( George Harrison: Living in the Material World)

George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Home Box Office, 2011.

George Harrison was always the odd man out when it came to the Beatles. Not grandstanding like Paul, rebellious like John or random like Ringo, he was the dark man who always stood out in our minds, the eloquent rock poet obsessed with pushing the limits of the musical form and seeking out the truth about himself and this life. Martin Scorsese's new documentary is an incisive, gentle glimpse into the world, via archival footage and talking heads, of one of rock music's raw icons.

No super-stylistic flourishes or catchy technique here. Scorsese lays it all out matter-of-fact, elegantly tracing a music biography which mutates into a questioning of existence. For how portentous that sounds, its no wonder that a master like Scorsese cuts to the heart of the matter: a man struggling to reconcile fame, fortune and the material world with a quest for the meaning of it all. Harrison's story is so heavy with elements of great storytelling that the picture slips into our minds with the ease of a golden riff.

George continues a labor of love for Scorsese, that is documenting the musical experience of the 20th century as Scorsese has lived and felt it. Pop culture has never seemed so clean. His The Blues, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and Shine a Light all enlighten us with the complexity that goes into creating great art. His George carries that torch with the lightest touch.

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