The Hours and Times [DVD] [1992]

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The relationship between John Lennon and Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles, is fictionalized in writer-director Christopher Munch's acclaimed The Hours and Times. The basis of the film is a real-life event from 1963, when Epstein and Lennon left the rest of the Beatles behind to spend an extended weekend together in Barcelona, seeking rest and relaxation. Munch builds his film around conjectures about what may have happened that weekend just before the breaking of Beatlemania in America, portraying the bonding, conflicts, and sexual tension between the two men. As the trip begins, the homosexual Epstein has already been nursing a frustrating crush upon the young singer, which Lennon -- recently married -- has neither fully acknowledged nor discouraged, as he alternately questions Epstein with intrigued curiosity and flirts with stewardesses. Munch's film, winner of a special award at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as acclaim from numerous critics, presents Lennon and Epstein's exchanges in crisp, rich black-and-white images, framing the pair against various Barcelona backdrops. Ian Hart, who portrays John Lennon in the film, would soon afterwards reprise the role -- with intriguing, subtle variation -- in the 1994 feature Backbeat.~Judd Blaise

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