When we speak of 1960s-era psychedelic films, most often we’re reduced to reflecting on costumes, set designs, and lighting. Rarely do discussions stray toward concepts of acting, scripts, and general narrative. There’s no use. Be satisfied with the way a film ‘feels’, not what it ‘says’ or ‘means’. Lord help you.
Wonderwall, which comes to us from 1968, is known mainly today as the film for which Beatle George Harrison provided the score. Later, the band Oasis named a song after the film. That’s really it—but it’s enough to to be bestowed a kind of wavering immortality.
The film concerns a research scientist, Mr. Collins (Jack MacGowran), who mugs with the persistence of a silent film star. He develops a fascination with the hippy couple who live next door to his apartment, Penny Lane (Jane Birkin) and boyfriend (Iain Quarrier).
Mr. Collins discovers that, by punching a few holes in the wall that separates the two apartments, he may be exposed to a completely new world of sex, drugs and rock and roll—hence, the ‘wonderwall’.
Don’t go much deeper than that. Chat about hip hippies and voyeuristic square squares. But it won’t get you anywhere. While George Harrison—or whomever—boings away in the background on sitars, we can just sit back and watch the lights show, the colors, the beautiful outfits—you see, it’s a film, so just look man.
The music is strangely compelling, and why not. George Harrison was no slouch as a composer, and he recruited people like Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr to help (and Monkee Peter Tork—I know, just go with it).
Wonderwall has an odd home movie intimacy to it, somewhat amateurish, not aiming to please anyone beyond a tribe. And in that way, it washes up the shores of our collective conscience as a wonderful, sparkling artifact from a wonderful, colorful time.
#wonderwall #georgeharrison #thebeatles #oasis #janebirkin #amandalear #british #film #cult #1968