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Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy

A one-way journey to hell - biopic of the first couple of punk blends real footage with reenactment, revealing a tragic and bleak symbiotic love story with a deadly sting - film is part of the Doc'n Roll Film Festival

Punk has been around for 40 years, and this is perhaps the rock’n’roll genre more closely and genuinely associated with subversion. We now regurgitate the X Factors celebs whose vanilla attitude is just a travesty of Sid Vicious. The tumultuous and stormy relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen have provided several accounts. Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy revisits the punk scene in London and in New York in late 1970s and sheds some light on Sid and Nancy’s mysterious deaths.

The Spanish documentarist Danny Garcia likes to tell stories of rock myths. His previous features, Looking for Johnny (2014) and The Rise and The Fall of Clash (2013), show unseen footage of Johnny Thunders and The Clash. Now he has collected several interviews with insiders, roadies, friends and members of other bands, such as Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), Walter Lure (The Heatbreakers), Kenny Gordon (Pure Hell) and Cynthia Ross (The B-Girls), and the result is a very heartfelt movie. It starts in the corridors of the Chelsea Hotel, in New York City. The camera suddenly stops in front of the locked Room 100, where Nancy Spungen was found dead. If cinema conveyed smells, this image would stink.

maysasid
DMovies’ writer Maysa Monção with Conor Hussey at screening of Sad Vacation at Doc’n Roll Film Fest

Sid Vicious was not an anarchist. He was not the Antichrist. Instead, he was a sweet and needy teenager. The film portrays how much he was loved by his friends and how his life changed after he met Nancy Spungen, an American stripper who flew to London determined to meet the Sex Pistols. It uses archive footage but it also reenacts some moments with young musician and Sid Vicious impersonater Conor Hussey. Some people in the film consider Nancy the black widow of punk, like Yoko Ono for the Beatles, and blame her for the splitting up the band. Other testimonies reveal their true love for Nancy, suggesting she was maybe a victim. In reality, drug addiction came prior to his encounter with Nancy. The rocker’s mother, Anne Beverley, was a drug addict herself. His childhood was lost. Anne admitted in an interview to administering the fatal dose to her son, months after Nancy’s death.

There’s no denying, however, that Sid and Nancy’s had a symbiotic relationship. The band manager Malcolm McLaren did everything he could to split the couple. He and Johnny Rotten hoped that the Sex Pistols’ American tour would separate Sid from Nancy. Instead, it was Vicious that drifted from the rest of the band. The sad vacation concluded a tough chapter of their lives.

Earlier this year, a restored copy of the seminal biopic Sid and Nancy (Alex Cox, 1986) was launched, reminding the audiences of the noise and the fury of a generation (click here in order to accede to our review of the dirty classic).

Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy is part of Doc’n Roll Film Festival taking place right now – just click here for more information about the event.

And don’t forget to watch the film trailer below:


By Maysa Monção - - 10-11-2016

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