Cinema Review: Squaring the Circle


Posted 9 months ago in Cinema Reviews

DDF apr-may-24 – Desktop

Dutch director Anton Corbijn has distinguished himself with feature films such as 2007’s Control and The American (2010), but this release marks his first foray into documentary film making. The subjects are Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, who together founded bleeding edge design studio Hipgnosis in ’60’s London. Their work in the ‘salad days of album covers’ was universally praised as being both far out and really out of sight. Given the bravura analogue achievements of their work for Pink Floyd (you might know them as a t-shirt), Zeppelin and myriad others this is relatively conventional film-making following a familiar rise and fall narrative. Talking heads are shot in Corbijn’s trademark handsome black and white, archive footage is artfully chosen and woven.

Characters (many exploring the possibilities of their poshness) are tripping balls night, noon and morning until Syd Barrett seems to give everyone the fear. Noel Gallagher’s appearances feel a little odd, because, you know, you really had to be there. He now principally seems to exist to advocate for a time when things were not shit. It’s not difficult to see what attracted the director to this subject matter – as a commercial artist he himself made his bones in the music industry, most notably shooting stills and video for the likes of U2 and Depeche Mode.

He knows what it means to be a creative in the service of the bigger creative thing. The film is about friendship and hubris but it also tracks perhaps as an elegy for a time of boundless budgets, unquestioned artistic license and unadulterated originality, before the man started counting the beans so closely. Perhaps Noel is right and things really are shit now. 

Words: Conor Stevens

Squaring the Circle

Director: Anton Corbijn

Release Date: July 14

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