American Masters: LENNONYC (PBS)
Winner’s citation written by Noel Holston here:
A former Beatle born and raised in England might seem unqualified for an American Masters profile, but LENNONYC justifies the choice. Michael Epsteins documentary quickly establishes John Lennon as an eager, if unconventional, immigrant who in 1971 chose to take up residence in New York City, Americas quintessential port of entry, for classic reasons: He was yearning to be free; free of a British press hounding and insulting him and his artist wife, Yoko Ono, in the wake of his groups break-up; free to re-invent himself. It wasnt easy. LENNONYC doesnt shy away from the demons Lennon had to exorcise, his self-destructive binges or the blunderbuss political activities that preceded his embrace of domesticity and the beautiful music of Double Fantasy, the album he and Ono finished shortly before he was murdered in 1980. Its an unusually rich and thorough portrait of a complicated artist, with candid interviews with Ono and musician friends, charming home-movie clips with their son, Sean, excerpts from TV talk-show appearances and archival film of the sessions for recordings such as Mind Games and Rock N Roll, his oldies album produced by Phil Spector. For illuminating the turbulent, triumphant, ultimately tragic American life of a legendary artist and pop star, a Peabody Award goes to American Masters: LENNONYC.