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    'Glastonbury,' Vibrations From Screen

    glastonburymud.jpgSome films speak in a language designed only for a particular group of people. "Glastonbury," a documentary film about the history of a 35-year-old annual summer music festival held on a farm in southwestern England, is one of them. If you are not a rock music fan, nor interested in the "spirit" of such big-scale music festivals, you better not watch the film. Chances are that you will end up leaving after a few minutes, as some people did during the film’s preview at Sponge House in southern Seoul Tuesday.


    But if you are a fan, this film is a gem.


    The feeling of appreciation grows, especially, if you matured in the golden revival age of "Brit pop" in the ‘80s and ‘90s, listening to such bands as the Smiths, Primal Scream, Radiohead and Coldplay, while developing an appreciation for the great musicians of the 60s and 70s.

    The film consists of footage shot by Julien Temple and his crew at the festival from 2002 to 2005, as well as shots sent in by the festival goers.


    Temple, a 52-year-old director who made the documentary film about the punk band Sex Pistols "The Filth and the Fury," as well as music videos for David Bowie and Blur, also included segments of interviews with Michael Eavis, who has since 1970 offered his farm as the venue for "mud, music, and mayhem." Eavis, 70, who helps organize the festival, tells the historical, political and cultural story of the festival.


    As a result, the film briefly deals with the "ugly" side and difficult moments of the festival, including riots, drug use, and perhaps more horrifically, the recent tightened security and commercialization, in which brand names such as Converse, Smirnoff and CCTVs replace the rags and Indian tents of the hippies who claimed to feel "vibrations from the holy ground."


    But the best parts of the film are vignettes of festival performances by the likes of Nick Cave, Pulp, Faithless, and Prodigy and Joe Strummer, as well as the musicians mentioned above.


    The film is likely to evoke fond memories and bring nostalgic smiles to the faces of those who have actually been there. For those who have yet to do so, the 138-minute film is full of tantalizing glimpses that might make you resolve to attend some day.


    But the festival is essentially English, as one of the festival-goers declares proudly. The narration of William Blake’s poem "Jerusalem" reminds us of that too. Let’s hope the Pentaport Rock Festival, which started this year in Inchon, takes shape and grows and evolves as quickly.


    For hard-core rock fans, this film rates four and half stars; for regular moviegoers, two or three.


    Source: http://times.hankooki.com

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