Directors: Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman and Stuart Samuels
Imagine being just 23, and your first love being John Lennon. Imagine too, that you’ve been virtually pushed into this relationship by Lennon’s then partner, Yoko Ono. That’s the story that unfurls in The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, directed by Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman, and Stuart Samuels, a personal documentary narrated by May Pang herself , now 73, sharing memories of her 18 month love affair with John Lennon from 1973 to 1975.
The documentary explores Lennon and Pang’s relationship, which she describes as true love, though she openly shares the complexities of this time, including the figure of Yoko Ono who appears to lurk as some kind of powerful force in the background throughout the course of Pang and Lennon’s affair.
Pang’s story provides a visual and emotional journey, showcasing photos, audio recordings, and video footage of a time Lennon referred to as his “Lost Weekend”. This 18 month period is often described by the media as an out-of-control period for Lennon, one of wild partying with Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, and Ringo Starr, amongst others. But Pang insists this is not an accurate portrayal, that during this important and creative time, Lennon reconnected with Paul McCartney and with his son Julian. He also began new collaborations with Elton John and David Bowie.
The film shares many of Pang’s personal documents, photos, Lennon’s sketches, and doodles. It covers complex topics like Lennon’s immigration issues and his surveillance by the FBI. It also delves into Pang’s personal journey, her political awakening inspired by Lennon, her interaction with Lennon’s son Julian and his first wife, Cynthia. The beautiful relationship Pang has to this day with Julian is heart-warming to see, a real high point in the film.
The end of Pang and Lennon’s relationship is as strange as its beginning, with Lennon simply advising he’s been beckoned home to New York by Ono. It’s odd stuff, and while Pang herself never refers to her arrangement as exploitative or abusive, there are some viewers who may well see it as such.
Whether you are a fan of Lennon or not, The Lost Weekend: A Love Story is a compelling watch. Pang’s blend of personal narrative, historical context, and intimate moments of her life with Lennon, offer a fascinating insight into a little known story.
The Lost Weekend: A Love Story will Premiere on theIcon Film Channel from 20th November and available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 18th December.