Imagine: The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson

Essential Arts Entertainment/Nitrate Film//BBC   |   UK

The film confronts our worst nightmares of impending death and turns them upside down. It tells the extraordinary story of musician Wilko Johnson, who diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a few months to live, accepted his fate with uplifting positivity and embarked on a farewell tour, capturing the imagination of the world. But like every good story Wilko's has a fine twist. Two years later, confounding the odds, Wilko wakes up in a hospital bed, unexpectedly sentenced to live, having to integrate those enlightened lessons learnt under sentence of death into the unexpected and ongoing future of his life. This feast of very rare and beautiful clips are used sublimely to illustrate the fears and joys of a man facing his own demise. Death illustrated through cinema. The film includes footage never seen before including archive of Johnny Kid and The Pirates from UTV and wonderful amateur footage of Canvey Island from Richard Morgan and Brian Waterman of the Brandon Estate cine club. The director Jonathan Demme has said of Julien's film that it is a "game changer" in the way it uses archive to illustrate its subject.