Absolute Beginners (1986)

Absolute Beginners (1986)

Taglines: The music, the movement, the romance, the passion… all explodes on the BIG SCREEN.

A musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes’ novel about life in late 1950s London. Nineteen-year-old photographer Colin is hopelessly in love with model Crepe Suzette, but her relationships are strictly connected with her progress in the fashion world. So Colin gets involved with a pop promoter and tries to crack the big time. Meanwhile, racial tension is brewing in Colin’s Notting Hill housing estate…

Absolute Beginners is a 1986 British rock musical film adapted from Colin MacInnes’ book of the same name about life in late 1950s London. The film was directed by Julien Temple, featured David Bowie and Sade, and Patsy Kensit in one of her first mainstream roles. The film was screened out of competition at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

Absolute Beginners (1986) - Patsy Kensit

Upon release, Absolute Beginners received immense coverage in the British media. At the time, the British film industry was perceived as being on the point of collapse (with the recent failure of the film Revolution).

However, the film was panned by critics and became a box office bomb. Some of the criticisms included stylistic anachronisms, such as the mini-skirt and decidedly 1980s music from the likes of The Style Council and Sade, the bowdlerisation of Kensit’s character (Crepe Suzette had been depicted as a promiscuous “negrophile” in the book), and the casting of Bowie, who made it a condition of his musical contribution. Although the film was not a success, Bowie’s theme song was very popular in the UK and reached number two in the charts.

Absolute Beginners (1986)

Absolute Beginners Movie Poster (1986)

Absolute Beginners (1986)

Directed by: Julien Temple
Starring: Eddie O’Connell, Patsy Kensit, David Bowie, James Fox, Ray Davies, Eve Ferret, Anita Morris, Steven Berkoff, Sade Adu
Screenplay by: Richard Burridge
Production Design by: John Beard
Cinematography by: Oliver Stapleton
Film Editing by: Richard Bedford, Michael Bradsell, Gerry Hambling, Russell Lloyd
Costume Design by: Sue Blane, David Perry
Art Direction by: Stuart Rose, Ken Wheatley
Music by: Gil Evans
Distributed by: Palace Pictures
Release Date: April 18, 1986