The phenomenon of punk was one of the most important chapters in music history and it is presently experiencing its revival. Thus the newly-remastered documentary “Punk in London” is just back in time on the market again to report as an important contemporary witness from the center of the happening. The movie was shot in 1977, thus exactly at the time when the punk scene was one of the most exciting movements of youth culture. Director Wolfgang Büld, at the time student at the university of film in Munich, tries to document the scene like it is presented to him and so there are mainly concert clips and interview material of bands, of whom you’ve probably only heard from your parents, if at all. Amongst others bands like The Adverts, X-Ray Spex, The Jam and The Clash, who were certainly able to play more than three chords, are shown. However, other greats of punk rock like The Damned, Buzzcocks, Crass, The Slits, Generation X and also the Sex Pistols aren’t immortalized here so that this DVD is in no way a complete inventory of punk.
The documentary goes intentionally without any longer commentaries by the director. Only here and there he comes in from the off, which, however, sounds more like in an educational film at school. Also, the video quality of course doesn’t meet modern standards, so don’t expect shiny colors or 200 different camera perspectives, here and there image and sound aren’t quite synchronous and the camera work can sometimes lead to a slight sense of dizziness. But this all only contributes to the fact that you get the feeling you were flown back into the 70’s in a time capsule to be exactly in the middle of it all.
As a bonus there’s a 60-minute interview with the director Wolfgang Büld about the making of the film, which is, however, of really bad quality and way too lengthy. The DVD could well do without it.
For 15 E one gets a tiny but interesting insight into the past for all those who think they’ve missed something because they were just born a little too late.