Beatles documentary to herald new Kumu season

A scene from the film
A scene from the film "The Beatles and India" Source: pressimaterjalid

A documentary film festival running through to March at the Kumu Art Museum (Kumu kunstimuuseum) in Tallinn will kick-off with a new take on the Beatles' legendary 1968 trip to India. The Estonian premiere will be introduced by veteran singer and fab four fan Ivo Linna, while anyone searching for an anti-dote to hippiedom might want to catch a biopic of X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene, also seeing its premiere, later on in the festival.

The Beatles made their famous trip to India in 1968, shorn of any touring requirements and on a quest to find new inspiration via transcendental meditation, in a trip that not only changed the band, but also Western countries' view of the subcontinent forever, ERR's Kultuur portal reports.

The journey is now being rendered on screen anew in "The Beatles and India" from Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton (see trailer below).

Bose already was a fan of The Beatles as a teenager, and had written a book about the India trip.

The documentary includes rare archival footage, photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert commentary, along with location shoots across India, to bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their high octane celebrity lives in the West, to a remote Himalayan ashram. in search of spiritual bliss that inspired an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting, Kumu writes on its website.

The documentary is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the evolution of the greatest ever rock band, and their own pioneering role in bridging two vastly different cultures across the universe.

The film premieres on Wednesday, January 5, at 6 p.m. (the start-time of all offerings in the festival-ed.), in the Kumu main auditorium.

Before the screening, a Beatles-themed quiz is going ahead, with first prize a copy of the book "One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time," by Craig Brown.

Across the festival as a whole, 14 documentaries are to reach audiences from January to March.

Highlights include French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert's film "Each and Every Moment", which follows nurses being trained in the Institut de la Croix Saint-Simon in Montreuil, and is a celebration of the hard work and the learning that goes into training this oft-underappreciated group.

Another English-language film to premiere is Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, where the punk icon's daughter Celeste Bell takes a look at the demons which plagued the punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman, real name Marianne Joan Elliott-Said (1957-2011).

Documentaries from Chinese director Huaqing Jin, and Dutch director Guido Hendrikx's, join work by Lutz P. Kayser (Germany), Adam Buka (Poland), Javier Espada (Spain), John O'Rourke (U.K.), Leena Kilpeläinen (Finland) and others.

The documentary series is being jointly organized by the Kumu Art Museum and The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF).

Kumu's page, featuring information in English on the documentary festival, is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Roberta Vaino

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