A, some may say, long overdue reminder of the fact that one of this century’s greatest musicians was also a radical political spokesperson for a generation, before he was permanently silenced on 8 Dec 1980. The U.S. vs. John Lennon, showing at Watershed from Fri 8 – Thu 21 Dec, is a fascinating, richly detailed documentary which focuses on John Lennon’s post-Beatle decade when he took a foray into radical American politics.
The film details what happened when the U.S. Government started to perceive that the media attention which the Liverpudlian singer and new wife Yoko Ono were garnering could be a threat to them. Skilfully combining archival footage, Yoko Ono’s home movies, and interviews with everyone from Gore Vidal to G. Gordon Liddy, directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld explore Lennon’s peace activism against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent decades in recent American history, 1966-1976. The result is an eye-opening exposé of the covert tactics Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon and his cronies used in their efforts to try and silence and even deport Lennon.