Previously at the ICA - Films
2 Aug 2015
Diagnosed with inoperable terminal cancer, magnetic ex-Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson elected to forgo chemotherapy and literally play out his last few months performing onstage. He also joined forces with Roger Daltrey to record the bestselling album either of them would ever make as individual artists. And then a weird thing happened: the cancer disappeared, and Johnson lived to tell the tale with the help of maverick filmmaker Julien Temple.
Interviews filmed around his Canvey Island home (the scene of Temple’s earlier Dr Feelgood doc, Oil City Confidential) are intercut with rousing, often moving performance footage from what everyone believed would be Johnson’s farewell tour, plus frequent visual references to the Grim Reaper drawn from movie archives and Temple’s imagination. The whole admirably avoids mawkish introspection, an unbridled love of life shining throughout.
The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson, dir Julien Temple, UK 2015, 92 mins