The Libertines – ‘Documentary’

The Libertines – 'Documentary'


A funny and emotional glimpse at the recording of the band's third album

When The Libertines reunited in 2010, photographer Roger Sargent followed the band as they rehearsed, warmed up for and performed at Reading And Leeds. That footage, interspersed with trips to old Libertine haunts, formed the documentary ‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’ – a comprehensive ride through their first, shaky reunion.

With the band decamped to Thailand to record their long-awaited third album ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’, Sargent picked up his camera and headed out to join them. This time, he’s created a film that’s not as extensive as the last, but still an intimate snapshot into the group’s world (and available on the deluxe version of the new album). It’s more than just a film about a band making an record, though. It’s also one about addiction and repairing old friendships.

Throughout, Dylan Kerr, Pete Doherty’s drug counselor, explains to the band the nature of addiction. People who’ve used as heavily as Pete, he tells them at one point, are usually dead by this point in their addiction. The singer and guitarist’s latest stint in rehab at the Hope in Chonburi is his first “serious” attempt to get clean according to Kerr, and he warns that it can take addicts several serious tries to succeed.

In between the sombre chat, there are moments of light. We see the video for ‘Gunga Din’ being shot in Pattaya, the four band members strolling down the street like a drunken gang. There’s Pete and co-frontman Carl Barât larking about in the sea and with the locals, but the most heartwarming moment comes in the studio.

There, Sargent films Pete and Carl winding each other up while writing the lyrics to ‘Fury Of Chonburi’. Pete suggests rhyming Carl’s line about dirty hands with “[i]his dirty pretty band[/i]”. Later, he pokes fun at his friend for always “[i]playing with his phone[/i]” and his use of Instagram. “Ah, genius,” murmurs Pete with a sigh of satisfaction as he settles down at his typewriter. It’s a genuinely funny moment, full of good nature, and a sign that maybe all the bad feeling of the past is water under the bridge.


Director: Roger Sargent
Release date: 11 Sep, 2015