George Harrison: Living in the Material World

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The first half of this epic, soon-to-be-on-HBO documentary by Martin Scorsese is hardly groundbreaking: Once again, you get Liverpudlian teens combing their hair back, the screaming girls, a whirlwind of fame. But there's real drama as George Harrison aches over the recording of his song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," his wife's affections alienated by his sideman and the band's camaraderie dissolving. We cut to black and a second movie begins, far superior, about a spiritual journey sometimes derailed but never abandoned. "It wasn't a skill; it was an aura," says visibly bereaved friend Jackie Stewart. The scope here is extraordinary, accommodating Monty Python members, Indian raga experts, Traveling Wilburys and a serene nuclear family that somehow survived it all.—JR

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New York Film Festival 2011

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