8th October 2017 3.30pm at Curzon Chelsea
9th October 2017 12.30pm at empire
A revolutionary generation that turned the dynamic of youth culture on its head. My Generation is Michael Caine’s generation. It belongs to Twiggy, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Paul McCartney, Vidal Sassoon and David Bailey. This documentary will not only provide a sharpened insight into 1960s/70s youth culture, but also explain what it really meant to be a part of one of the greatest rebellions against the establishment that the UK, and eventually the United States, had ever seen.
With narration from Michael Caine, the film is compiled almost entirely of raw footage from the 60s and divided into three specific acts across the period. The first focuses on how people had become dried prunes from the cast set after the Second World War and that the nation was firmly divided by the class structure. A brewing sense of freedom and individuality was evident in the baby boom generation, and a chance to break away from the prudish norms of society beckoned. The film progresses into the the heyday of the working class and how youth culture began to be a dangerous political weapon, ending with the reality crash when the “change bites back”.
Rather wonderfully, the documentary feature is almost entirely of old footage, with interjections from the 21st century from Michael Caine in a modern studio. As well as narrator, he is almost a central “character”, with 1960s videos of the great actor walking through London, through doorways, into shops blended in with the content and his modern scenes. The cinematography has a superb authenticity to it even though the raw footage has received a remastering. The script was crafted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais with exquisite detail, and along with personal monologues from Michael Caine revealing industry secrets, the film is enticing and entertaining throughout. Cinematographer Ben Hodgson and Editor Ben Hilton must also be congratulated for visuals and editing that clearly must have taken a very, very long time to complete.
The soundtrack is of course fantastic, consisting of 60s classics from The Who, Donovan and The Beatles to name a few. The music builds the factual history into a nostalgia trip, which will certainly appeal to an excessively wide audience. The one query is the lack of any racial diversity; albeit at the time of the film’s setting the majority of famous models and bands where of Caucasian heritage, but as many are aware there was also a prominent Black scene in music and in pockets of London. This does not subtract from the enjoyment of the film, though it is something that catches the eye. All in all, My Generation is an informative and entertaining spectacle that will appeal to all. Those who wish to relive their memories of the period will find homage in the picture. Those of a younger age will be engaged with a project that offers them an eye into a world that will probably never be experienced again.
My Generation does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch a clip from My Generation here: