Henry Padovani and Friends:
Sting & Stewart Copeland (The Police), Topper Headon (The Clash), Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Jean-Jacques Burnel
(The Stranglers), Kim Wilde, Manu Katché, Chris Musto & Paul Slack ( The Flying Padovanis), Little Bob Story...
Lionel Guedj & Stéphane Bébert
London 1976: Social protest is at its height. Youth seeks a new, different future. The punk movement burst into a sterile artistic and cultural context, times devoid of any sense of revolt. The movement involved all imaginable forms of rebellion, but music quickly became its chief manifestation. It was against this social backdrop that the young Corsican Henry Padovani first arrived in England. His two-week vacation turned into a seven-year sojourn as the novice musician discovered an entirely new world, whose fresh philosophy he quickly and instinctively adopted. This important era of musical and social history became, for Padovani, a formative period of friendship with those who are today known as the undisputed stars of pop and rock. Sting and The Police, Topper Headon and The Clash, Glen Matlock and The Sex Pistols, Kim Wilde or The Stranglers, all became part of his life. Yet Padovani distanced himself from the spotlight, focusing his life on human values. To the big names of rock, Padovani was not simply a musical partner, but also – and above all – a friend; the type who stocked Sting’s fridge when The Police were still obscure and broke. And it is precisely through his dedication to friendship, solidarity, and joie-de-vivre that Henry Padovani became an ideal witness of this social-artistic gestation. Thanks to his personality, values, and demonstrated loyalty, Padovani remains the one to whom nothing is denied, the constant observer of these complicated years.
It is this element of human adventure contained in the story of rock during the mid/late 1970s that we will reproduce in "Rock'n'Roll…Of Corse!" Through interviews and meetings in London and Corsica, we will try to capture the essence of this amazing adventure where rock'n'roll is all about. The descent into hell of Topper Headon (The Clash), the IRS label adventure alongside Miles Copeland (REM, The Bangles, Lord of the new Church etc.), friendship, solidarity, drugs, women and music all belong in this incredible story. From concerts in the historic clubs of the punk/rock London, to unpremeditated reunions and improvised discussions, Henry Padovani’s voice will guide us through the maze of this unique period.
We will witness the truth when Henry Padovani – thirty years after the break-up of The Police’s original line-up – joins Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers on the stage of the Stade de France, to play in front of a crowd of 80,000 people. The film will focus on the elements of Padovani’s lifestyle. Whether as a young student or a rock’n’roller, we will follow the details of his life as faithfully as possible. We will meet his family, his friends, and others who knew of the dreams of the young Henry. We will visit his hometown, where it all began, where he realized that music would become his way of life. At the same time, it seems essential for this type of narration to leave as much as possible to the viewer’s own imagination; to uncover the story, and to self-identify with an exceptional life recounted as simply as it was lived. We believe it is important to emphasize both the human aspect that binds all these musicians, as well as the social-political context in which they evolved. Their music is, in a way, the “soundtrack” of those years. We will be considering the idea of life and accomplishment, passion for music in general and rock in particular, social rejection, and openness to others... We will use original images in which, for example, Sting testifies his deep bond with Henry Padovani, while trying to understand what was happening in this “bubbling” London by walking through the Camden district or through archive footage showing the originality and specificity of those years. These images (of concerts, etc…) will be a musical and visual testimony and an inexhaustible source of context and perspective that will illustrate the uniqueness of the time. Through exclusive images as the reformation of his band “The Flying Padovanis” in Japan (Fuji Rock Festival) or in Hyde Park (Hard Rock Calling), we will notice that history continues and that music is forever a part of their lives. To them, rock is not simply a phenomenon but an entire lifestyle, a common purpose, an incessant questioning, far beyond dreams.
We will sail back and forth between yesterday and today, between art and society, music and human adventure, memories and historical realities. As both a player and an observer, Henry Padovani is a witness from within, and his hoarse voice will carry us. The memorable melodies of the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Pretenders, the Police or the Stranglers will allow us to (re)live, even if for a few moments, a time that has changed the way we listen to music forever.