Amidst the spread of cinematic delights and contemporary favourites at this year’s British Film Festival comes the engaging documentary, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars – a deeply intimate film chronicling the life of Britain’s most renowned blues guitarist. 

This year saw a diverse list of films fast-tracked from the British Isles to Australian cinemas, but few compare to Lili Fini Zanuck’s (Oscar-winning producer of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’) deeply touching documentary, ‘Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars.’

Opening with an iphone recording of Clapton honouring the late BB King in a touching personal note, Lili Fini Zanuck rewinds the clock to the early stages of Clapton’s life as he grew up in Surrey, England. Right from his childhood, Eric Clapton thought of himself as different, as narrated by the bluesman himself. From his obsession with ‘black’ music to his obsession with drawing, he found solace in ‘introverted’ practices; a habit which soon lent his ear to the guitar.

Charting his roots from a traumatic childhood, and the deeply devastating effect of early childhood abandonment, we are taken through the guitarist’s extraordinary list of circumstances bestowed upon him. It’s not long til we’re made aware of his great respect for blues mentors like BB King and Muddy Waters -two guitarists who influenced Eric to pick up the guitar and start plucking strings- and the boundless lengths of his imagination, as told by his Aunty.

As the lens on Eric’s life hones in on his career as a guitarist, the voice of Clapton narrates the journey he took following his abrupt departure from The Yardbirds, and blends together his time with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a project which thrusted him into the spotlight as Britain’s leading blues rocker, and afforded him the title of ‘God’ by mainstream audiences.

The doc soon draws us in with powerful sonic reminders of Clapton’s force as a guitarist, directing the viewer’s attention toward his powerful role as an innovator during the 60’s blues explosion and his diverse list of bands and projects such as Cream, Derek & the Dominos, Blind Faith and various other collaborations.

The unparalleled success of Britain’s most renowned blues guitarist, Eric Clapton is honoured in Lili Fini Zanuck’s deeply intimate documentary, which casts a lens on Eric’s incomparable and prolific musical career. Throughout the doc, never-before-seen archival footage and photographs are included to provide the deepest perspective on Clapton’s extraordinary life, and crafts a well-rounded chronology of the life of the 18-time Grammy winner (and the only artist ever to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). From his involvement with drugs and alcohol, to his passionate romantic relationships and interesting friendships, ‘Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars’, delves deep into every corner of Clapton’s personal and professional life.

It also features classic performance clips, on-and-offstage footage, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries, as well as extensive interviews with Clapton himself and his family, popular musical collaborators and mentors, including late music icons B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison.

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