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An Englishman In Detroit


Julian Temple is a British filmmaker who's made most of his career worshiping at the rock and roll altar, and who could forget his debut, the Sex Pistols' whacked The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. There was a brief and, arguably, successful foray into musical feature filmmaking (Absolute Beginners, Earth Girls Are Easy), and even an interesting detour into literate docs (Vigo and Pandæmonium) but mostly his talents have been oriented toward slick music videos and romancing the punk rock scene.

Now Temple has discovered Detroit. And he's doing a BBC doc that brings his take on the city's blight and neglect will beget innovation and evolution narrative. But if his recent article in the Guardian, which absolutely revels in descriptions of despair, is any indication, we might just get another boring example of gorgeously shot ruin porn propped up by shallow observations about renewal and youth revolution.

Or maybe not. Temple can sometimes surprise as a filmmaker, bringing clarity and insight to his subjects.

He also shot vids for Janet Jackson.

Will Detroit get the former and not the latter? If the fact Iggy turned down his request to be involved is any indication ...

Requiem for Detroit? is on BBC2 on Saturday 13 March at 9pm

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