‘Sympathy For The Devil’ was made at a time when The Rolling Stones were at the peak of their creative powers and Jean-Luc Godard, who after making some of the great French New Wave cinema had taken a revolutionary political direction with his film making.
Possessing Godard’s idiosyncratic style it can be viewed as two movies in one. In the first, rock and roll superstars The Rolling Stones create their latest song ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ in a London studio as they compose material for their forthcoming ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ album. In the second, a series of abstract fictional vignettes, Godard probes topics as diverse as race, pornography and the irony of interviewing celebrities, which features a unique demonstration by Black Power revolutionaries and a TV interview with one Eve Democracy about the relationship between culture and revolution.
For many people the main attraction of ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ is seeing The Rolling Stones take a loose outline of a song and turn it into a stirring, fully realised creation. Beginning as a ballad, the track gradually acquires a pulsating groove, which gets Jagger into a rousing vocal display of soulful emotion that Godard is lucky enough to capture on film.