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Midlands Review of DJ Dougals Dad

By midlandsmovies, Mar 18 2020 04:31PM



DJ Dougal’s Dad


Directed by Thomas Line


2020


We open in a music festival dance tent with a DJ attempting to pump up a packed crowd as we begin new documentary DJ Dougal’s Dad by Midlands filmmaker Thomas Line.


As the man shouts over the microphone, he introduces us to our first glimpse of Garry Clarke aka DJ Dougal’s Dad. We then smash cut to Garry leaving his suburban home that couldn’t be further from the euphoric boom of the crowd and sub-woofer of the festival event.


Garry is a photographer and videographer from Northampton whose wife bought him a Yashica 24 camera many moons ago and began his career by taking a few shots of a local guitarist known as Marc Bolan (!)


Later going on to sell his shots to big music magazines like Melody Maker, Garry has since come full circle to photograph local band Howlin’ Owls. But alongside footage of the older Garry working with up and coming artists, he regales the viewer with stories of photographing some of music’s most celebrated artists.


From Santana in the early 80s through to Bob Dylan, Garry shares his passion in an honest and informative documentary. We see his photos and director Thomas Line uses interviews, voiceover and both old and new footage to showcase Garry’s work over his distinguished career.


The passion from Garry and his interest in the subject matter comes across well and being a musician myself – and having done many a band photoshoot – the subject matter was especially interesting to me.


Tom previously made Headphones, a short film drama film we reviewed that was also nominated at our annual movie awards (click here for review). This film shows the director can jump mediums with aplomb and having a narrative background always helps in documentaries to create a story around the subject. It’s all too easy to think your own obsession with the subject matter will see audiences respond the same way but that’s not always the case.


Here though, Garry’s history and personal stories help you relate to his photography and the director has captured a man sharing his love for music and images in a simple but informative way. We briefly move on to his DJ son and rave culture but Garry explains the only drugs he takes are medicinal ones.


Although the documentary uses standard genre techniques, the subject matter was more than up my street and anyone with a passing interest in music, history or creative photography will definitely get something out of the film’s brief 8-minutes. What starts as a mad insight into a life capturing the excesses of rock n roll, actually develops into a more life-affirming self-portrait of an older soul processing the snapshots of his life. Recommended.


Michael Sales


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