Film Review: Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback (2012)

on Tuesday, July 10, 2012
'Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback' (UK Release: 29 June '12) // Words: Saam Das

Originally released in 1996, Robin Mahoney's exploration of the world famous Glastonbury Festival has been re-worked with the aid of new technology and with 45 minutes of added footage. With the festival taking a break this year, 'Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback' is an excellent opportunity to reminisce and reflect on how far it has come.

Taking in the 1993 Glastonbury weekend chronologically, the film avoids a traditional narrative - adopting occasional split-screens and lacking a guiding voiceover. The documentary allows the viewer to lose themselves within the footage, much like the revellers themselves succumb to the all-encompassing vastness of the Glastonbury experience.

It's an approach that makes the film seem at times more akin to an art installation than a cinematic venture. Yet 'Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback' provides something of a unique insight into the Glastonbury Festival experience, particularly the more "innocent" times before TV cameras arrived the following year.

The odd piece of archive footage includes a very early festival appearance from The Verve along with performances from the likes of Spiritualized and Stereo MCs are included. Much like the festival itself, this documentary spends as much time, if not more, on the other aspects of Glastonbury outside of the music.

The best moments reflect the variety and delirium of the Glastonbury campsite with its ventriloquists, activists, costumed attendees, and religious patrons. The mix is a bizarre one but twenty or so years on, the special community spirit remains much the same. Most likely, you'll either love it or loathe it.

The footage is beautifully shot, filmed in CinemaScope, and its remastering has been worthwhile - the hazy summer sunrise and sunshots are all the more sublime as a result. Unfortunately, despite the re-edit, the lack of focus is somewhat infuriating and disappointingly unengaging.


'Glastonbury The Movie In Flashback' is on limited release in UK cinemas now.

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