Julien Temple doc celebrates London - the Modern Babylon
Great Rock and Roll Swindle director creates a giddy kaleidoscope of London with a rocking score
What you need to know
British director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle) has released a new documentary called London - The Modern Babylon, exploring the history of his hometown from the birth of cinema until today.
Temple has made a collage, mixing film archive material and popular music with the voices of Londoners past and present, from musicians, writers and artists, to political radicals and ordinary people, to create a picture of the capital's changing face.
The film will be shown on a very limited release at various venues throughout London this week before screening on BBC 2 on Saturday 11 August.
What the critics like
Temple has created a brilliant "visually throbbing cine-quilt", says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. The material in this exhaustive clip-collage is well-chosen, the juxtapositions are witty and bold and it's refreshingly cliché free. This heady experience is arguably "more subversive than Danny Boyle's masterly Olympic opener".
Just when you thought you'd had enough of thinking about our city's past, present and future, along comes Temple's epic film, says Time Out. This "rousing collage portrait" of the city is driven by music. It's "gentle but persuasive argument is that through the wars, struggles, diasporas and cultural upheavals of the twentieth century we've arrived at a city more global and diverse than ever" - a place that may just be worth celebrating.
Temple's chaotic sprawl of a documentary rummages through the film archives to create a giddying kaleidoscope of London history, says Larushka Ivan-Zadeh in the Metro. This is a multi-layered, impressionistic collage "where order slowly emerges from babble" to create "an unpatronising celebration of London's diversity". Given Temple's iconic past work with the Sex Pistols, it's no surprise that it's accompanied by "a rocking score".
What they don't like
Temple's kaleidoscopic portrait of London is sprawling and uneven, says Anthony Quinn in The Independent. A proper script might have pulled it together more than just relying on the chronological plod, "but even in its raggedness there's much to absorb". ·