David Knight - 19th Mar 2010

Julien Temple's acclaimed Dr Feelgood documentary Oil City Confidential has enjoyed a great run in cinemas, and his other new film, the superb Requiem For Detroit, was screened on BBC2 last Saturday (and is available to download for a short while longer on iPlayer).

But while confirming his position as one of the UK's greatest documentary-makers, Julien has also returned to music videos to mark a special release from an artist with whom he has a remarkable connection. He's made Jimi Hendrix live again - at Glastonbury - for the recently discovered recording of Bleeding Heart.

In his evocative and skilfully constructed video, Hendrix performs the song 'live' at a modern-day Glastonbury Festival - but not before four teenagers have initially entered the festival site in its alternative guise as Michael Eavis's working Worthy Farm, and have invoked the spirit of Hendrix around a bonfire. There's even a cameo by Eavis himself in the post-script, finding the four kids paying homage at the bare frame of the Pyramid Stage.

Julien has big connections to Glastonbury, having directed the acclaimed documentary about the festival a few years ago, and his friendship with Eavis enabled him to film on the site. But he also has a special link to Hendrix: he actually attended his first ever British show.

"I saw Jimi's first showcase gig in England when I was twelve years old - at the Country Club in Belsize Park, where I lived." Julien reveals. "The Country Club was like a shed behind the tube station - but that was the famous moment when Jimi arrived in England and all the rock stars came out to see this guy they'd heard about - Eric Clapton was there, and The Who...

"I remember Hendrix being amazing - he did all the things he's become famous for - playing it with his teeth, behind his back - but he was also amazed by the reaction of the crowd - and the rock stars who had come to see him."

And even though they haven't had the benefit of that genuine, unique experience, the Bleeding Heart video is all about how successive generations are also affected by Hendrix. In fact, Julien cast his two sons Leo and Felix, their friend Callum Deardon and his producer George Hencken's daughter Mona as the four teenagers who rediscover Jimi at Glastonbury.

"I like the idea of young teenage kids are still into something like that - and they are. Because no-one has taken guitar playing further than him. It's interesting to put him in a modern context." He also points out that there is a Hendrix connection to Glastonbury, even though he never played the festival. "Hendrix died four days before the very first Glastonbury festival. He wasn't going to play, but his death overshadowed the whole event."

Julien adds that the 'star-Jimi' emerging from the flames of the bonfire, was also created from the Isle of Wight footage, animated by Barney Steel. "I wanted him to come out of the embers, and coming through like Orion the Hunter."

Hendrix did regularly play Bleeding Heart at his live shows - its only recently that a recording was discovered, together with other material. This video almost certainly heralds a new surge of Hendrix popularity - and Julien Temple reveals that his video is not even cutting edge in how the great guitarist can be brought to a new audience.

Watch/download Requiem For Detroit: here


DirectorJulien Temple
Production CompanyMrs Grey
ProducerGeorge Hencken
Executive ProducerRichard A Moore
Director of PhotographyCarl Burke
ColouristGwyn Evans
CommissionerMike O'Keefe

David Knight - 19th Mar 2010

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