Living in The Material World: George Harrison

O documentário da BBC segue a vida de George Harrison desde sua infância em Liverpool até o sucesso dos Beatles, suas viagens à Índia e a influência da cultura indiana sobre sua música. Contêm cenas inéditas de entrevistas com Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Eric Idle, Phil Spector e Tom Petty.

George Harrison: Living In The Material World

Um canteiro de tulipas enche a tela. Ao fundo ouve-se o barulho do vento, alguém assobiando. De repente, um rosto emerge das flores, olhando diretamente para a câmera: George Harrison, com um enorme sorriso nos lábios e o olhar penetrante de sempre. “Éramos George e eu, sozinhos no quarto, olhando um para o outro, diretamente nos olhos”, diz Martin Scorsese, relembrando o momento em que começou a examinar os DVDs de fotos e vídeos caseiros enviados por Olivia Arias, viúva do músico. “Foi ali que eu vi que o filme tinha que ser feito”, conta Scorsese sobre o momento em que decidiu filmar "George Harrison: Living in a Material World".

Olivia vinha há anos reunindo e catalogando o vasto material iconográfico deixado por Harrison, um fã de fotografia e cinema que documentara sua vida cotidiana em fotos, filmes e vídeos caseiros, desde seus tempos em Liverpool. Depois de ver "No Direction Home" (2005), o documentário de Martin Scorsese sobre Bob Dylan, Olivia decidiu que ele seria o diretor ideal para organizar e dar um formato aos arquivos visuais de seu marido. Scorsese, envolvido em outros projetos, hesitou durante algum tempo - até aquela noite num quarto de hotel quando, por uma mistura de curiosidade e tédio, ele finalmente decidiu ver o primeiro DVD da coleção enviada por Olivia.


George Harrison no início dos anos 70, quando gravou o álbum "All Things Must Pass

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“George gostava de cinema e gostava de filmar”, diz Scorsese. “Provavelmente, naquela imagem, ele estava apenas alinhando a tomada de cena. Mas o resultado, para mim, foi altamente impactante. Através do cinema, George estava olhando nos meus olhos.”

Esta ideia - fazer George Harrison olhar nos olhos da plateia - guia "George Harrison: Living in the Material World", o documentário de três horas e meia de duração que acompanha a trajetória do músico, de Liverpool à casa nas colinas de Los Angeles onde morreu, em novembro de 2001, cantando mantras e, segundo Olivia, “iluminando todo o quarto”.

A morte, na verdade, é outro tema importante do documentário. Isso é estabelecido logo no início, depois da imagem das tulipas, com amigos, família e colaboradores - o filho Dhani, Eric Clapton, o presidente da produtora Handmade Films, Ray Cooper - lembrando os últimos momentos de George de um modo que ele certamente aprovaria: com sorrisos e risadas. Compositor de “The Art of Dying”, George tinha grande preocupação com o momento do desenlace e, como fica aparente no documentário, passou uma boa parte de sua vida, em suas próprias palavras, “treinando para o momento final de transformação radical de consciência.”


George Harrison
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Além da possibilidade de ver material inédito - fotos feitas por George no auge da Beatlemania, filmes caseiros da restauração dos vastos jardins de sua mansão nos arredores de Londres, George remixando "All Things Must Pass" em seu estúdio doméstico, os Traveling Wilburys tocando “Ghost Riders in the Sky” na cozinha da casa de alguém, como um bando de adolescentes entusiasmados - "Living in the Material World" tem o grande mérito de compor um retrato fascinante de um homem muito complexo, tão entusiasmado por drogas quanto por meditação, amigo de cineastas, membros de gangues de motoqueiros e iogues.


George Harrison

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E, correndo como um fio vital para unir tudo isso, música, “o modo que George tinha para expressar todo o turbilhão que carregava na alma”, segundo Scorsese.

Na primeira parte do documentário, vemos o adolescente tímido de Liverpool - dono, nas palavras de Paul McCartney, de “uma cabeleira extraordinária” - crescendo no olho do furacão da Beatlemania, guardando para si um universo de percepções e perplexidades, à sombra dos gigantes Lennon e McCartney. “Comecei a compor como um exercício”, George diz numa entrevista que parece ser do final dos anos 1970. “Eu pensei: se esses dois conseguem, por que não eu?” Em um momento breve mas particularmente poderoso, vemos George assinando os documentos que oficializam o final dos Beatles, enquanto entoa “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, que isto seja mesmo o fim”.


George Harrison

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A primeira parte termina com o jorro de criatividade do seu primeiro álbum solo, "All Things Must Pass", “um grande vômito de todas as coisas que George vinha criando e guardando para si durante anos” diz Phil Spector, hoje, envergando uma assustadora peruca loura.

A segunda parte ocupa-se do aprofundamento espiritual de George - interrompido de tempos em tempos por “entusiasmadas “ (nas palavras do amigo Klaus Voorman) sessões de cocaína -, sua paixão por automóveis velozes e sua reaproximação de John, Paul e Ringo.

Como em "No Direction Home", Scorsese mantém todas as linhas narrativas abertas ao mesmo tempo, muitas vezes voltando ao passado ou antecipando o futuro para aprofundar o retrato de George muito além de “o Beatle silencioso”. A música, ponto forte de qualquer obra de Scorsese, é particularmente potente em "George Harrison: Living in the Material World", exclusivamente com obras de George, muitas vezes em demos e rascunhos, usadas para comentar e ampliar as imagens de uma vida extraordinária.

What Martin Scorsese Didn't Want You To Know About George Harrison

 

Ficha Técnica
Diretor: Martin Scorsese
Elenco: - documentário
Produção: Olivia Harrison, Martin Scorsese, Nigel Sinclair
Fotografia: Robert Richardson
Duração: 208 min.
Ano: 2011
País: EUA
Gênero: Documentário
Cor: Colorido
Distribuidora: Não definida
Estúdio: BBC

NYFF ‘11 Review: Scorsese's George Harrison 'Material World' Doc Is A Moving & Striking Portrait

Rock 'n' roll and Academy-Award-winning Italian American filmmaker Martin Scorsese are inextricably linked. After decades of creating striking pictures soundtracked to the likes of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Phil Spector-produced Girl Group strut and constructing documentaries about some of the biggest giants in contemporary music -- Bob Dylan ("No Direction Home:Bob Dylan"), The Band ("The Last Waltz") and the Stones ("Shine a Light") -- Scorsese finally turned his gaze to one titan in rock he had yet to cross paths with, The Beatles. Or more specifically in this case, the enigmatic "quiet" Beatle, George Harrison (though trainspotters will note that "What Is Life" is briefly featured in "Goodfellas").

Five years in the making, it's not unjust to breathe the word Beatles in the sprawling, two-part, three-and-a-half hour "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," because if you only stuck around for the first half and or walked in late, you'd be vaguely excused if you had believed the documentary was a Harrison-based doc on the Fab Four.


The Beatles

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Extensive and perhaps excessively-focused on the underrated songwriter’s spiritual beliefs, ‘Living in the Material World’ can’t possibly cover the life of George Harrison and yet the immersive, marathon-long doc sums it up quite successfully in what ultimately is a moving and stirring portrait of the departed artist.


George Harrison in India

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Bifurcated, each half of the documentary could be split up into “During The Beatles” and “Post-Beatles,” but the only reason Scorsese lingers so comprehensively on a well-documented period in rock history is that he understands context is key – everything the young man experienced in his formative days with the biggest band in the world inexorably transformed him and laid the groundwork for the man he would become. While die-hard Beatles or Harrison fans might not find a lot of new insight in that first half, it does have its purpose.

Non-linear, the documentary jumps around in time to great effect, placing the demise of the Beatles and the use of one of Harrison’s greatest, most key and thematic songs, the wise and melancholy “All Things Must Pass,” right off the top of the doc, freeing itself from the trappings of regular chronology.


George Harrison

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One of the key discoveries in the first half of ‘Material World’ is a Beatles-era Harrison observing early on that the group achieved everything that people could ever hope for – fame, fortune, power, status, influence and more – at an incredibly young age, and came to the realization that these accomplishments were empty and there must be something more meaningful to life. In a way it's as if Mount Everest has already been climbed and Harrison has to find a new challenge, but the young man is wise enough to discern going even bigger is foolhardy and futile.

George Harrison - Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Eart)

What emerges quickly is a complex portrait of an explorer – Harrison’s blooming spirituality doesn’t appear to come from a longing to fill a gaping hole in his internal life, but rather a fortuitous realization that higher consciousness can lead to a contented place for the soul to rest. And it's not an entirely virtuous portrait either. While his initial meetings with Ravi Shankar and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are crucial highlights to his cognizant awakening, counterbalancing Harrison’s mystical side is his “extreme,” doesn’t-suffer-fools-gladly, easy-to-anger personality. Harrison's "split personality" is mentioned several times -- his peaceful side and an angry one -- and it's alluded that Harrison wasn’t the most devout husband or boyfriend for that matter, and as his wife Olivia Harrison says in the doc, “he had [his] own Karma to work out.”

Thankfully the words “quiet Beatle” are never uttered and what surfaces is not this superficial public persona – a likeness of a internalized, taciturn musician – but one with a profusion of things to express. However, overshadowed by his older, more famous songwriting partners, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison was obligated to stay in the relative shadows during his Fab Four days.


George Harrison and Eric Clapton

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Using talking head interviews with Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann (two key figures from the early Hamburg, Germany days that included former early-Beatles members Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe), ex-wife Pattie Boyd, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jane Birkin, Eric Clapton and more, chapter one of ‘Living in the Material’ world takes the viewer through his blossoming Beatles songwriting endeavors (“Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun”) that would set him on his way right up to the acrimonious demise of the band (featuring some footage from the still-unreleased “Let It Be” film) and foreshadows the exemplary solo career that was about to materialize.

The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun

At last, like a dam-bursting revelation, part two finally gets into All Things Must Pass, Harrison’s long-time-coming debut record – an effusive triple album which featured a then-whopping 22 songs. After being relegated to one or two tracks on albums by the Beatles, Harrison outpoured; clearly someone had been storing up a treasure trove of songs.


George Harrison

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Featuring interviews with Phil Spector, George Martin, Neil Aspinall, Yoko Ono, Monty Python alum Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam and Tom Petty, the more satisfying second half of the picture rounds out Harrison as a full-dimensional human being and shows the first part as being complementary to the second. While it's arguable that a preponderance of time is devoted to over-enforcing the theme of Harrison as spiritual seeker – All Things Must Pass is the only album given any real detail – it’s clear that Scorsese is preoccupied with discovering the truth about who the musician was as a person rather than delivering a greatest hits highlight reel of his accomplishments. While this may not fully satisfy musciologist aficionados, what is undeniable impressive is the booming, digitally remastered songs that transform familiar Beatles and Harrison into what sound like awesome, towering epics you're hearing for the first time. Part of the genius of the doc itself is that like Harrison himself, Scorsese lets the music do most of the talking.


MARTIN SCORSESE’S GEORGE HARRISON DOCUMENTARY

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That said, overall, Harrison and Beatlemaniacs, should feel (relatively) satisfied. Most of the important milestones are organically touched upon, including the historic Concert for Bangladesh (one of the first early benefit concerts), the Clapton/Boyd love triangle, his founding of Hand Made Films (the landmark British film company he established to finance his Monty Python friends’ film, “Life of Brian”), The Traveling Wilburys period, his soundtrack work ("Wonderwall"), his Friar Park estate restoration, his 1999 home invasion and his death in 2001 after a long battle with cancer.

Utilizing new interviews and existing footage of all formats -- 8MM, 16MM, 35MM, crude VHS videotape, etc. -- plus never-before-seen footage culled from the Harrison family archives, Scorsese and his editor David Tedeschi (“No Direction Home: Bob Dylan”) create a marathon tapestry of Harrison’s outer and inner life.


George Harrison: Living in the Material World

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Considering the scope and life of the subject, omissions in the George Harrison story are minor. We’ve heard some half-joking grumblings about the absence of 1987’s Cloud Nine (which spawned the hit “Got My Mind Set On You”), but the chronicling of the more substantive Traveling Wilburys period more than makes up for it. The most glaring oversight (if you can even call it that)– taking into account all the discussions of creating it -- is the full story of Harrison’s first number one single, "My Sweet Lord," from his debut album All Things Must Pass.

The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun

While the songs' spiritual connections are documented, what’s missing is the unpleasant aftermath. Harrison was successfully sued by The Chiffons for copyright infringement on their song "He's So Fine" in one of the first major cases of such in rock history and in a protracted case that went on for 10 years to boot. But something had to go and it’s likely this unfortunate blemish would have been a tangent that would have painted itself into a narrative corner. A ‘70s drug problem seems to be glossed over as well, but there are only so many minutes left.


George Harrison and Ravi Shankar

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Veering away from hagiography with balanced, candid testimonials and carefully chosen existing and unseen footage, if anything, “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” should wipe away the idea of a quiet anyone. Instead, it replaces that outdated notion with one of an eager collaborator of ideas and a trailblazer willing to think outside Western world conventions and apply that philosophy into a way of life and a state of being, rather than a celebrity-in-crisis, Kabbalah-like fad. If anything, in the second half of Harrison's career, the musician was saying a lot, the difference being he didn't really care if anyone was listening or not.

Fontes: http://www.cineclick.com.br/filmes/ficha/nomefilme/living-in-the-material-world-george-harrison/id/17585; http://www.jornalopcao.com.br/posts/opcao-cultural/george-harrison-living-in-the-material-world; http://cinema.uol.com.br/ultnot/2011/10/19/documentario-de-martin-scorsese-faz-o-beatle-george-harrison-olhar-nos-olhos-da-plateia.jhtm; http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplayl

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