Online premieres: review of “Let it Be”, by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (Disney+)

After 54 years without being officially released, the original version of “Let it Be” is released on Disney+, which deals with the recording of the Beatles’ album of the same name.

One of the reading angles to enter LET IT BE It is not in the film itself but in a conversation that its director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, has with Peter Jackson, the director of GET BACK and mainly responsible for the restoration of all materials recorded by the Beatles at that time. Jackson is aware that time changes what we see, how we see it, and its importance. And he understands that those songs, at that time, were not the universal icons that they would become years later. This not only serves to explain and justify the enormous amount of things that were left aside in this now restored documentary in relation to the other but also puts the emphasis on the documentary as an audiovisual record captured in the present time.

LET IT BE – which premiered in 1970 and was then taken out of circulation until now, and which could only be seen in some poor quality copies that circulated on video or online – is not expansive and complete as Jackson’s series was, but rather a cut much more specific about the recording of that album, the second to last to be recorded and the last to be released by the Liverpool band that would break up shortly after. You will hardly see the compositional details, nor the famous visits, nor much of the fights, nor the intimacies, nor many of the other things that were surprising in that film. Lindsay-Hogg generally focused on showing the more or less complete songs – or being perfected –, their recordings, a couple of video clips about the end and the concert on the terrace, summarizing in a little over an hour everything that happened throughout those intense weeks.

And he chose a more specific thematic and personal axis, giving a somewhat darker tone to the entire process, with an omnipresent Paul McCartney and relegating John Lennon and George Harrison to a more secondary one (Ringo Starr appears little in both documentaries), in addition to show several clashes between them, especially a memorable argument between Paul and George, which is in both films but feels harsher here due to the lack of context.

Based on the cut that was made here, we also understand the discomfort that many people felt about the almost constant presence of Yoko Ono next to the band: without so much development and without seeing other appearances of family members who circulated through the recording, seeing her sitting there at the side. The side of an often opaque Lennon gives him a preeminence that perhaps he did not have in reality. And he transforms her into a dark figure, perhaps the reason why John was never convinced by the film and turned against her.

It’s interesting to see LET IT BE, in addition to being a document of its time, from a comparative analysis regarding assembly ideas. Jackson’s series proceeded by accumulation and detail, while here everything is shorter and more decisive, as the film moves from one song to the next without too many distractions in between. The camaraderie, the kindness, the jokes and all those colorful details that enriched GET BACK They are almost not here, but what remains is something else, perhaps more definitive: the record of a last dance of a band that perhaps arrives with tired horses at the end but is willing to give everything one last time. And they do it from a terrace, while the inhabitants of London in the late ’60s look up as if it were a dream. And maybe it was.



 
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