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A documentary about the punk band The Sex Pistols. The film tries to lighten some of the backgrounds of their way through the punk era while telling the story of the band from zero back to zero. Features lots of interviews and comments of folks who were involved. Written by
Forget everything you may have heard about the Sex Pistols..
Forget everything you may have heard or read about the Sex Pistols. Forget "Sid and Nancy". This is THE documentary. A warts and all look inside the lives of a band that changed the face of music forever. Never mind Julien Temple's earlier effort "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle", the sensationalist Malcom McLaren (Manager of the Pistols) centred documentary. "Filth" tells the story using the the band (and a lot of Temple's own 1970's 'never before seen' home video tapes).
In existence for only 26 months and releasing only one album, the Sex Pistols evolved within a time of massive economic, social and cultural oppression in England. This was an era unlike any other. Staggering youth unemployment; squalid streets where the piles of rubbish became small hills and the stench over-powering, and with the IRA bombing campaign reaching its peak. One of the most amazing things about this documentary is that it actually takes us back in time to the mid-70's landscape of London. Through the use of newsreel footage, television adverts of the day, weather reports and game-show clips, "Filth" immerses the viewer in everything absurdly "English" from the time.
The documentary not only lets you "feel" like you're actually there with the band, it tells you so much that you actually believe you were there. Without going into essay length about the story of the Sex Pistols, there are just so many interesting/bizarre facts revealed about the band that you really begin to realise why they are such a huge influence on music today. I may be ignorant, but I now know that Johnny Rotten started spitting on stage only because of his sinus problems, Sid Vicious inadvertently started the "pogo" dance, and the band were the first ever to say the "F" word on British television. David Bowie, Siouxie Sioux and Elvis Costello could often be spotted at a Pistols show, and opening bands on the bill ranged from The Clash, The Damned and The Buzzcocks.
One-to-one interviews with each surviving band member, as well as extensive interview footage with Sid Vicious (Hyde Park-1978), are revealing and extremely honest. The many sides and angles of the Pistols story have been told by those that lived it. Almost all of the interviews have been shot in silhouette, so the only faces you see are those of the members being "The Sex Pistols". The idea being not to spoil the feel or continuity of the film, and from saving us all having to look at a bunch of old blokes talking about "those crazy days".
Julien Temple proves himself to be the only man for the job of Director. There is a lot to be said about someone who abandons there student film career and goes about documenting a band, but Julien Temple did just that. His ability to display the true personalities of each band member is remarkable, and this has translated over to the audience. In a recent interview he states "People have watched the film and been almost in tears at the end, which is the last thing you would expect from a Sex Pistols movie. But it is because there was never anything about the Pistols that you expected, that was part of their power".
No, I didnt cry, but the story of the Pistols is a tragic one ending with the split of the group, Sid Vicious being the prime suspect over the death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and then his drug induced death months later.
Whether you're a fan of the Sex Pistols or not is really irrelevant. Whether you play in a punk band is also irrelevant (although it'll make you think twice about the term "punk"). The point is, if your interested in music, popular culture or human behaviour, this is a movie that will reward you. Both entertaining and informative, "The Filth and The Fury" actually delivers as being "the definitive story of The Sex Pistols".
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