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NYFF2011: DAY 2 ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’

NYFF2011: DAY 2 ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’

George Harrison:Living in the Material World

Directed by Martin Scorsese

USA, 2011

What a day, what a day. Rushing from Queens to Manhattan with only an hour to get going for a nine AM screening in the mist of rush hour, to many city dwellers may seem like the impossible. Topple that with three train transfers and a lack of caffeine, many would call it quits. With five minutes to spare, after running across the plaza of the Lincoln Center and nearly tripping up the steps of the Walter Reade Theater, I seriously thought waiting for the second screening was inevitable. Luckily the fine people at the Film Society checked me in as I panted breathlessly, and reassured that I wasn’t the only one to show in the nick of time,  with a smile and cup of coffee. There can only be one thing that would make a film lover like myself go through this hassle: the prospects of a great film.

A documentary directed by Martin Scorsese of an iconic musician definitely qualifies the film for such commotion and tribulation. An icon’s film about an icon would be, as I thought, the formula for success. And boy was I glad that I made it, for George Harrison:Living in the Material World was worth all the fumbling, bumbling, and oxygen deprivation. The crowded theater was quiet throughout its near four hour entirety, awed by this well crafted piece of cinema. Balanced between old and new footage, photography, and the study of a unique and inspirational character; the film could have easily been four hours longer and still as entertaining. Simply put, George Harrison:Living in the Material World is one of the best films at NYFF2011 and can certainly be on many top ten lists at the end of the year.

The film traces Harrison’s career with The Beatles to his transition as a solo artist; highlighting aspects of his personal life and spirituality through the viewpoint of home videos and friend interviews. From Eric Clapton to Terry Gilliam, Yoko Ono to Tom Petty, and Ringo Starr to Jackie Stewart; the magnitude of star power keeps the film honest and humble while speaking highly of Harrison’s many talents and differences. The film will be screening at the New York Film Festival on Tuesday, October 4th and will be showing on HBO Thursday October 6th at 6:15pm with multiple play dates to follow. Check out the full synopsis and trailer below for more details, or visit it’s page at

“Rich in mesmerizing archival footage, Martin Scorsese’s expansive documentary on the Beatles’ lead guitarist—and of one of the greatest musicians of the 1960s and ’70s—traces in detail all aspects of Harrison’s professional and personal life. Friends (Eric Clapton, Eric Idle), family (wives Patti Boyd and Olivia Harrison), and band mates (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) reflect on Harrison’s mid-’60s embrace of Indian mysticism and music, which forever changed the sound of the Fab Four. Harrison’s spirituality also defines his masterful solo work, especially the 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass, produced by Phil Spector, another subject interviewed in depth. Until his untimely death in 2001, Harrison remained fiercely committed to his music and other passions (including film producing), earning the admiration of all who were lucky enough to work with him. An HBO Documentary Films release.”

– Chris Clemente

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Visit the official website for the New York Film Festival