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My Generation

Michael Caine invites you to celebrate the '60s

There’s a tremendous amount of pleasure to be had in David Batty’s My Generation. Narrated by Michael Caine, it is a sloppy wet kiss to British youth culture of the 1960s, loaded with great period footage, music from The Kinks, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and others, and voiceover interviews with the likes of Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithfull, Twiggy and Mary Quant.

Poster for the nostalgic doc My GenerationBritain in the 1950s was dull, announces Caine, though doesn’t every generation say that about the era before their own? What’s undeniable is the momentous shift toward youth culture beginning in the 1960s. Freedom from convention was the hallmark of a social revolution affecting everything from art, music and fashion to changing concepts of morality.

The film is divided into three parts, roughly corresponding to the awakening, flourishing and decline of 1960s pop culture. Alongside nods to expected historic markers like The Beatles performing at Liverpool’s Cavern Club are more unanticipated moments, such as Roger Daltry talking about the profound impact of seeing Elvis perform: “For the first time in my life, I saw someone who was free.”

From there, the documentary plunges into the intoxicating psychedelic playpen of Pop Art, Vidal Sassoon haircuts, and Mary Quant micro-miniskirts. Suddenly, thanks to the British Invasion, being young and British meant you were cool, stylish and glam. Models such as Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy set new standards for beauty, and groups like The Animals, The Kinks, The Stones and The Beatles set the tone, guiding a generation from the innocent charm of “Love Me Do” to the raucous hunger of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.

A love-letter-as-documentary, My Generation offers 85 minutes of good old-fashioned fun.   

– Jay Weissberg, Variety

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