Lost in period haze
JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE
Three Stars Directed by John Ridley. Starring André Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Burn Gorman, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley, Ruth Negge. Club, IFI, Dublin, Light House Cinema, Dublin, 118 min. Also available on volta.ie Jimi Hendrix’s ex-girlfriend Kathy Etchingham claims that scenes of domestic violence in All Is By My Side are entirely invented. We hardly needed telling. When said incidents occur in this strangely muted biopic, they don’t feel realistic Romano, Eucir de Souza, Selma Egrei. Club, IFI Dublin, 95 min When we first encounter Leonardo (Lobo) and his BF Giovana (Amorim), they’re lying by a swimming pool comparing notes on laziness. We don’t immediately realise that Leonardo, the young hero of this award-winning drama, is blind, a condition that attracts casual, intolerant jibes from schoolyard bullies.
Enter new classmate Gabriel or even organic to this alreadly curveball project.
A riff on Jimi’s early London years written and directed by 12 Years a Slave’s Oscar winner John Ridley, All is By My Side is notable for its lack of Hendrix tunes, as Ridley was unable to secure the rights. It falls to cinematographer Tim Fleming and editors Hank Corwin and Chris Gill to inventively paper over a mostly Irish shoot with nouvelle-vague–alike jump shots, overlapping dialogue and montages.
The results feel like an impressive, if academic, (Audi), who quickly bonds with Giovana and with Leonardo, in particular. Slowly, the dynamic between the three shifts and adjusts. As we watch Leonardo teach Gabriel how to use Braille and Gabriel teach Leonardo how to dance, it becomes apparent that Leonardo is gay. As that relationship heats up, Leonardo and Giovana’s friendship cools.
Far more swiftly, we realise that Leonardo is desperate for a degree of independence away