“You don’t have to be in the Sex Pistols to be a punk. You just have to be aware of the injustice in the world,” proclaim punk advocates about to burn priceless punk memorabilia. Almost forty years after punk took the world by storm, music and fashion are celebrated by the establishment that music is sworn to destroy. Joe Corre, son of former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, seeks to rebel against this commemoration of punk by burning down his late father’s collection of punk artifacts. From the streets of 1970s London to the art galleries of modern Britain, wake up punk is a rallying cry for social activists to preserve the ethos of punk and the spirit of “anarchy in the UK”, even if it means destroying the relics of the punk past.
wake up punk chronicles Joe Corre and Vivienne Westwood’s journey leading up to their public fire. Corre and Westwood discuss their ties to the Sex Pistols and how the musical landscape has changed dramatically over the past forty years. The film is politically charged and challenges the established order, right down to the ranks of punk itself. The cries of “historical vandalism” only fuel Corre’s distaste for the commercial manipulation of punk, pushing him even further down his flame-filled path of punk destruction.
“…burning priceless punk memorabilia.”
Director Nigel Askew displays a strong sense of punk values throughout wake up punk. The film creates a shared and sympathetic narrative towards Corre’s cries for social change. While the burning of such a priceless punk story will be difficult for some fans to watch, the act is presented as brilliant performance art used as a spotlight for Corre to discuss the issues of corporate greed and impending doom. of climate change. Askew constantly returns to the core ideas of avant-garde punk and non-conformist philosophy, creating a rebellious anthem for the underdog.
For a film centered on a musical genre, one would expect a significant amount of music. In wake up punk This is not the case. The film features a severe lack of punk rock and the workout sequences of the punk icons the film surrounds. I can understand that creating a documentary on a budget and securing song rights plays a huge role in a soundtrack – music documentaries need music on at least some level. Besides the lack of music, the film features a small fictional subplot of Victorian children discussing punk values and capturing a business miser. The Victorian scenes do little to deepen the narrative and always detract from the movie’s message or momentum.
Growing up and until today, I’m a big fan of punk. I’ve seen many great punk documentaries over the years and still yearn to learn more about the genre that brought “Nevermind the Bullocks Here The Sex Pistols” to the world. wake up punk enthusiastically captures the attitude and ethos of punk – spewing anarchist rants at Boris Johnson with effortless charisma. However, the film’s central focus is rough. It doesn’t even establish scorching punk like the main story until the third in the film. Lack of clarity and disjointed information is ultimately what prevents wake up punk to join the ranks of the great punk docs that preceded him. Vivienne Westwood’s stories of punk fashion and Sid Vicous are amazing. But in a documentary that can’t commit to a theme or a thesis, it feels too little too late.