The Filth and the Fury
Time Out says2000 would have marked the Sex Pistols' silver jubilee, if the band hadn't self-destructed after 26 months of creative chaos unparalleled even in the annals of rock'n'roll. Director Temple was there from the beginning and stayed to document their rise from underground heroes to media bogeymen and beyond. He has already told the story once, as The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle, which he now admits was very much Malcolm McLaren's version of events. This answers McLaren's entrepreneurial cynicism with John Lydon's still seething wit. Collaging Temple's original footage and contemporary broadcast material, the film has the sniff of '70s Britain all right: London swung out to dry, rubbish on the streets, nothing worth working at. Lydon's angry prole rhetoric has an element of rationalisation, but Temple captures Johnny Rotten in all his camp glory. Interviews with the surviving band members are conducted (rather feyly) in silhouette, presumably to preserve the integrity of their younger images. Fortunately, the guys themselves harbour no such inhibitions. Their recollections are frank, funny, compassionate and damning.