To my mind the real pleasure of a great documentary is to offer an entry point to a subject which will interest those who may not be automatic enthusiasts for the genre in question. The film should put the viewer in the space and provide an experience of what something is like. It should reveal, inform and in most cases entertain. Given this brief, the Netflix film; The Rolling Stones: Ole Ole Ole is a stunning piece of work.
It is a feature length study of the build-up to the band’s recent concert in Havana, Cuba - along the way showing live footage of other South American shows which precede it. Set against the backdrop of social and political change in the region, it is a colourful (literally) and extremely engrossing portrait of a project which ultimately offers a city something it has never witnessed before - via music which was actually banned in its recent past.
You absolutely do not have to be a Stones fan, or ‘Rolinga', to enjoy this. I like their music but I’m not a massive fanboy, although I am fascinated by the Messers Jagger, Wood, Richards and Watts - as they are enigmatic, funny and enriched by a wonderful past, something which shows up today’s pop stars for the largely social media puppets they are… looking straight at you, Kanye.
The film is also beautifully shot and edited. In many places it is dramatic and really nails the sense of scale of the tour and associated production - frequently reverting to personal reactions by fans who seek a glimpse of their heroes because they offer a conduit to another world, one their own social and economic restrictions will never experience.
If you read this and seek-out the film, then maybe keep a close eye out for some incredible footage of Jagger on stage during a rainstorm. There is one image - which only last a few secs - of him caught in the lights and the pouring rain - it’s a breathtaking visual and something, to a photographer’s eye, that really is quite magical.
Ole Ole Ole is fun, vibrant and a genuinely interesting way to view some good ole rock n roll. Give it a chance, even if you have to use the trial period of the account and not subscribe (shhh)...