The official LED ZEPPELIN documentary “Becoming Led Zeppelin” debuted last Saturday (September 4) at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy. Directed by Bernard MacMahon, the film documents the legendary rockers’ “meteoric rise to stardom.”
LED ZEPPELIN guitarist Jimmy Page, who premiered the documentary at the event, took to his social media earlier today (Thursday, September 9) to write: “I recently returned from the Venice Film Festival where the world premiere of ‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ was unveiled. With Bernard MacMahon (the director), Allison McGourty (producer of the film) and accompanied by @scarlettzsabet, we were about to feel the feedback of the documentary.
“The first run was 2pm on Saturday 4th September. The full capacity audience were already in the venue (COVID restrictions observed) before we were due to enter and welcome the audience and to say hello. There was a 10 minute standing ovation before a word was said. The audience bestowed such affection before the viewing it was quite overwhelming. As the film progressed the enthusiasm intensified and certain sequences were followed by applause. The audience were really connected and it was interesting to witness the communication and enthusiasm the event and the film were generating. After the closing credits, the audience rose to their feet and gave us another standing ovation, a thank you that I can’t convey in words, but boy did I feel it.
“That evening there was to be a midnight showing and I wanted to attend that as well. Bernard and I introduced the film to another enthusiastic audience and another standing ovation. It was so energising to feel the love, joy and anticipation from the public. The world press from the next couple of days was equally encouraging. They had had a private viewing so the questions were totally relative to the film documentary. The film had clearly touched the hearts of both audience and critics alike.
“Thank you to the Venice Film Festival. Thank you to the fans. Thanks to you for your loyal support through the years.
“Just now awaiting the announcement for the official release of the film and the day we can all see ‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’.”
“Becoming Led Zeppelin” features new interviews with Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as rare archival interviews with the late drummer John Bonham. It marks the first time members of LED ZEPPELIN have participated in a documentary about the group.
MacMahon said in a press release: “With ‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ my goal was to make a documentary that looks and feels like a musical. I wanted to weave together the four diverse stories of the band members before and after they formed their group with large sections of their story advanced using only music and imagery and to contextualize the music with the locations where it was created and the world events that inspired it. I used only original prints and negatives, with over 70,000 frames of footage manually restored, and devised fantasia sequences, inspired by ‘Singin’ In The Rain’, layering unseen performance footage with montages of posters, tickets and travel to create a visual sense of the freneticism of their early career.”
MacMahon previously directed the Emmy-nominated music documentary series “American Epic” about the early American roots music recordings of the 1920s. Page praised the film back in 2019, saying: “When I saw everything Bernard had done both visually and sonically on the remarkable achievement that is ‘American Epic’, I knew he would be qualified to tell our story.”
Plant added: “Seeing Will Shade and so many other important early American musicians brought to life on the big screen in ‘American Epic’ inspired me to contribute to a very interesting and exciting story.”
Jones stated: “The time was right for us to tell our own story for the first time in our own words, and I think that this film will really bring this story to life.”
An official LED ZEPPELIN book, “Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin”, came out in October 2018.
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