26 January 2019 | dromasca
a nostalgic documentary
Revolutions are rare in England's history, but when they happen, they shake off the system and have repercussions not only on the Island but also around the world. More than three hundred years after Cromwell's revolution and 150 years after the Industrial Revolution, the pop culture revolution made in the 1960s of London last century one of the two cultural capitals of the world and the avant-garde model of a reversal values and styles of scale. This is the subject of the documentary 'My Generation', whose director David Batty has been known over the last decade, especially for his films about ... the history of Christianity.
Michael Caine is the producer, the presenter, and receives a lot of screen time in this documentary. It's an interesting choice, but it comes with its problems. Of course, for Caine's fans among which you can always count me, it's always a pleasure to see the clever and articulate actor at the age of 84, sharing his memories and experiences from these times. On the other hand, I felt that Caine is pushing himself too far in front of the stage and he is "gonflating" his role as a cultural hero at the expense of other personalities, the real and significant heroes of the youth of the period.
The film starts from an interesting thesis and develops it convincingly: the pop revolution of the 1960s was not only a cultural revolution but also a social revolution in art. For the first time the younger generations and the classes considered "inferior" in the British system have found a broad stage to express themselves and have conquered the front of the artistic scenes of the world in different fields (music, film, fashion) . However, cultural references are rather limited when it comes to other fields than pop music. I believe, for example, that Pinter and Stoppard's theater would have deserves to be mentioned. Even when talking about cinema, big names are missing - for example those of Losey or Kubrick.
Another cultural dimension is missing. England and London played a central role in the pop culture revolution of the 1960s, but not an exclusive role. There is no mention of the influence of the pop and hippie movement in the United States, the Flower Power phenomenon, the festivals and protests that had the epicenter in the United States rather than in England. It can be said that it was a bi-cephalic phenomenon that had two capitals - London and San Francisco, and the film only deals with one.
In spite of all these observations, it is an interesting film that includes many significant testimonies about what happened in those years on the London artistic scene. The three "chapters" of the film feature the three stages of the birth of the phenomenon, the conquest of the artistic scene, and the appearance of the premises of its decadence. For those like me who lived those years on the alien planet that was Eastern Europe, there is a lot of invaluable information, images that generate nostalgia, places we were dreaming about then without being sure we'll ever get to see them. 'My Genration' is a documentary that generates nostalgia, but not the ultimate documentary about that period.