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In The Observer, director Julien Temple describes his nervous breakdown to Simon Garfield when he felt “paralyzed by film” while making a documentary on the Glastonbury Film Festival. After shooting 250 hours of footage at the 2002 edition, Temple realized that there was so much more about the festival’s history that he wanted to capture. So, he put out a call to anyone who had any footage of any one of the Glastonbury festivals, and the envelopes starting pouring in:

‘These padded envelopes kept arriving and you thought, “Oh my God,”‘ Temple recalls in his converted editing barn near Bridgwater, where he is also working on a film about Strummer. ‘But after four hours of nonsense, jugglers or whatever, there was usually something that really demanded to be included.’

Much of the delight of the completed film, which runs a little over two hours, is to be found in this collage of professional and amateur footage, the latter providing most of the loved-up, blissed-out intimacy. There is no easy narrative and no voice-over, but Temple’s concept of ‘a long weekend that lasts 35 years’ more than sustains interest. He compares the editing process to a bebop saxophone solo. ‘I think making the film mirrored the experience of going to the festival. The rules and role-playing that exist in normal life no longer hold; you’re thrown into this incredibly random and vibrant event and you sink or swim. There’s certainly an element of surviving Glastonbury as well as enjoying it.’

The film, Glastonbury, opens in the U.K. April 12 and The Observer calls it “one of the most absorbing and inspiring music films ever made.”

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