Sympathy:1968


Today's Sunday Times has a free dvd of Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy For The Devil from 1968, which blends documentary footage of the Rolling Stones recording the eponymous rock classic with meditations on black power, pornography, celebrity and drugs, cut in (as the avant-garde filmmakers tended to do back then) in juxtaposition or completely at random. The first time I saw this movie I thought it was really powerful, and to some extent it still is, when you consider how conservative and obvious, how timid, most mainstream cinema is these days. But boy did people take themselves seriously back then. How wise and buddha-like, by contrast to all those revolutionaries and avant-garde lions intoning their profundities, Keith Richards seems sitting barefoot on the floor behind bug-like black shades chain-smoking cigarettes and idly plucking out his blues.

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