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Peter Whitehead Obituary - The Guardian by Adam Sweeting
One of Britain’s most provocative film-makers whose work documented the counterculture of the 1960s
Peter Whitehead, who has died aged 82, could justifiably claim to be one of Britain’s most distinctive and provocative film-makers. His film about the Rolling Stones, Charlie Is My Darling (1966), was a pioneering portrait of the group amid the whirlwind of fan mania, its on-the-road intimacy a precursor of Donn Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan film Don’t Look Back and a blueprint for countless future music documentaries.
In Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London (1967), Whitehead created what for many critics was the definitive document of swinging London, a white-hot crucible of music, fashion and film. The many short music films Whitehead made in the 1960s foreshadowed the era of the video promo clip that blossomed in the MTV era of the 80s.
But by the time he made The Fall (1969), arguably his masterpiece, the intellectually restless Whitehead had moved beyond being merely an onlooker recording events with his camera and was pursuing his own inner journey through a period of violent social and political change.
His most intensely creative period began in 1965, when he filmed the International Poetry Incarnation – a gathering of beat poets, including Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti – at the Royal Albert Hall in London, to make the 33-minute documentary Wholly Communion.
Word of this reached the Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham...
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