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The John Tittenhurst/New York 1971 films -- Imagine, Gimme Some Truth and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky
24 November 2018
Ron Nasty
Apple rooftop

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After watching the première of John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, I thought a thread about the three different films focused around the Imagine  sessions and the different reflections they offer might be interesting.

The three films in question are Imagine  (1972), Gimme Some Truth : The Making of Imagine  (2000) and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (2018).

It is interesting that each are very different films reflective of their times. You have the experimental original 1972 ahead-of-its-time video album with a couple of songs flown in from Yoko's Fly. Then you get 2000's Gimme Some Truth , concentrating largely on the Tittenhurst sessions and watching John at work with a little commentary along the way. And now we have John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky which looks at the events that created the environment for the creation of the album, with familiar and unfamiliar footage running as a backdrop to the narrative and commentary constructed from new and old interviews.

First thing to say about the latest addition is that it's a great film in my opinion, but while there is much exciting footage from the time I haven't seen before, as already said much is a backdrop to the narrative. Perhaps it bodes well for the DVD/Blu-Ray release, hoping some of the new footage will be included without the interruptions as bonus features.

The clip released on John's official YT channel is a good representation of the film, and the balance between music and commentary:

Some observations: While much of the footage is familiar, as shown with this year's restorations of the earlier two films, the picture and sound are fantastic, and there is enough new footage and much is surprising and delighting me, and much footage seen before is seen from different camera angles and extended. The scene with the lost Vietnam vet ("I figured that if we met I'd know...what I was thinking was true...", "I'm just a guy! ... Are you hungry? Hmm? Let's give him something to eat...") used in 1988's John Lennon : Imagine is extended, seen from different angles. John's patience, understanding, concern, uneasiness that he was somehow responsible, knowing the police want to just arrest the guy, and the way he takes him in is all the more touching, especially given how it all ended for John.

And the picture is so improved compared to its 1988 use.

I enjoyed it a great deal and didn't feel it was just retreading the same ground without anything to add. As said previously, I feel the three films offer three different perspectives on the sessions, each with a value as a document of that year. One the product, the second a fly-on-the-wall, while the third is a retrospective of the life and the times.

Currently on my third viewing...

Love the bit where Julian, talking about the song Imagine , says "It's not religious. It's not political. It's just Humanity, and Life." His voice and inflexions are just so John in those lines... (that's in the above clip).

The following people thank Ron Nasty for this post:

SgtPeppersBulldog, vonbontee

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty


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