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The Beatles – reimagined

12 10 68

Nostalgia is the enemy of art since it inevitably tips into sentimentality.

The Beatles understood this. Their art – the hard, enigmatic quest for new sounds to share with each other and the world – was about being in the present, with a grateful, but not stunting, nod to the past.

As such, the sublime cacophony produced by four brilliant musicians – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – evolved and dazzled, always brimming with ingenuity, joy and delight.

That ingenuity, joy and delight – coupled with sharp bouts of friction and prickliness – are on glorious display in director Peter Jackson’s re-imagination of the band’s infamous Get Back sessions throughout January 1969.

Blessed with hours of previously unseen footage of the Beatles at work and play – during what was considered the group’s depressing denouement filled with rancour and exhaustion – Jackson took a sad song and made it better.

But, to be sure, the resulting seven-hour, three-part documentary, which began streaming last week across the universe, is devoid of gooey sentimentality borne of nostalgia.

In a way, Jackson has simply corrected the record by showing the Beatles as they were – silly, serious, patient, impatient, in harmony, and at odds – while transforming the sounds first conjured in their heads into immortal song after song day after day.

Jackson’s opus stands, as well, as an urgent, intimate reminder of just how young John, Paul, George and Ringo were at what was, arguably, the apex of their faculties when they hatched such mesmerising melodies with Mozart-like facility and ease.

There are, of course, quiet moments of wistfulness: Paul softly singing John’s Strawberry Fields Forever for no other reason it seems than to hear the transcendent sound of it once more and George’s plaintive, acoustic version of Isn’t It A Pity drifting........

© Al Jazeera

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