Friday, 5 November 2010
The documentary LennoNYC was shown as part of the BFI London Film Festival. It details the time John Lennon spent in New York, most of the 1970s. We all know the story; Beatles split, John moves to New York with Yoko to enjoy an anonymity he couldn't in the UK (and which would ultimately lead to his downfall), gets sent on crazy 18 month 'lost weekend' to LA by Yoko with one of her girlfriends, reunites with Yoko, becomes house husband with baby Sean, starts recording again.
It goes into everything in glorious detail, the love story between John and Yoko the central thread of the tale. We hear about the treatment they receive at the hands of the press, their battle for US residency, the crazy behaviour that leads Yoko to send him away, the complete despair they both feel at being separated and then the super sweet story of them reuniting.
(I especially loved that story: John played at an Elton John gig at Madison Square Gardens in 1974. He had been despairing at the state of his career but had a hit with Whatever Gets You Through The Night so Elton invited him to play. He received rapturous applause (you can hear the performance here), Yoko was in the crowd and they got back together in the dressing room after the show. There is a really intense photo of the moment it happened but I trawled the web and couldn't find it, sorry! Here's one of the show and Elton in rhinestone dungarees instead.)
It also include great footage of the small flat in Greenwich Village that John and Yoko shared at 105 Bank Street before moving to The Dakota building. Tiny artist's quarters, quite unbelievable for a man who had spent the last decade as one of the biggest stars in the world.
The documentary is a must-see for Lennon fans, beautifully compiling the story of the years leading up to Lennon's death and his love affair with NYC and Yoko. I'm not sure what the distribution plans are for the documentary but given the warm reception at the screening I attended I'm sure we'll hear soon. Keep an eye out for it!
[Photos by Allan Tannenbaum.]