Live Forever

Live Forever

*****

Reviewed by: Lottie Oaktrees

Remember Britpop? That brightly coloured sweet impossible to ignore in the mid Nineties and even more impossible to not become part of once you had tried it?

It was like an acceptable drug, the return of the Sixties, fairgrounds, dog racing and that's just me reminiscing about Blur and the soundtrack that said it all - Parklife. For others it was about the working-class Mancunians, whose foul mouth tirades earned them the label of being "hard" and whose musical explosion was just like their name, Oasis. It was about the sensationalism of art, fashion, film and I remember being hooked.

Live Forever transports you back to this high and it doesn't fail to mesmerise you in the exact same way that you were then. It extracts the essence of an age where "indie" was the byword for cool, when the line between the sexes blurred and floppy haired cute boys, in the form of Damon and Liam, adorned the bedrooms of any teenager with taste. Only this time we see the explosion of Britpop, not as we experienced it in our youth, but through the eyes of reflection and, for me, this once sparkling jewel hasn't dulled.

From John Battesek, the producer of the Oscar-winning One Day In September, this is not the direction I expected, although just for my inner teenage self, I'm glad to the core. This film mixes footage of the actuality of the time, snippets from TV, live gigs and throws it together with interviews of those who rode the crest of fame - Albarn, the Gallagher brothers, Cocker, Werner and more. It looks back on the playground of these now men and women and dares them to be honest about what life was really like.

There's no glitz and glamour, no spin and definitely not a hint of The Martin Bashir Effect. Instead, its true in it's convictions and lets the subjects tell their own story and they never disappoint. Slotted together like the perfect jigsaw and with a musical soundtrack to die for, Live Forever is the most beautiful piece of musical docu cinema you could ever experience.

At one point Liam Gallagher is asked what he thinks of being considered "androgynous." He doesn't understand. It's explained and you can see the cogs turning in his head and know that at any moment the interviewer could have his lights punched out. It's then that you realise that this project can go anywhere. It's daring, funny and as truthful as those who speak to us. Often, I was in stitches on the floor. Those Gallaghers should do stand up. And that's no joke .

With so much focus on the music, it could have been so easy to forget the other branches of Britpop, the culture and the politics. Live Forever doesn't fall into this trap and so we are exposed to other icons of the time , including, would you believe it, Tony Blair. The film encapsulates the entity of the life we lived, or wanted to live, and breathes new existence into memories warm and rich of Cool Britannia.

If there is one criticism - believe me, I am scrambling in the dark here - it's that the subject matter is only a few years old; the dust hasn't settled on it yet.

I was truly taken aback by the supreme quality of every aspect of this production. It's seamless. If you loved everything about living in Nineties Britain, then this is for you. It has bottled its fizz and never goes flat.

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2003
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Britpop: a look back at the bubbles and bursts.
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Director: John Dower

Starring: Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher

Year: 2002

Runtime: 122 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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