director Lech Kowalski
“Where Were You In ’77?” was the musical question and title of a 1985 Sex Pistols (bootleg) live record. And I’ll quote my old friend Var in his response to someone verbally asking that question mid-Eighties: “Right behind you in live for Star Wars!”
This is one of the powers of documentary. You weren’t there (most likely), but someone with a movie camera was. In this case, the someone with a camera was Lech Kowalski and the result is D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage.
As selective as the sequences and the mishmash of the editing, for all eternity now we have a glimpse into the heyday of U.K. punk and the disastrous U.S. tour of the Sex Pistols in 1978.
It’s not just the bands. There are fascinating sights and sounds of the audience members, in particular the Atlanta, Georgia crowd making what they can and will of imported punk rock. This even includes an anti-smut crusader.
There’s also a solid gold performance by Poly Styrene and X-ray Spex. The Dead Boys, Generation X, and Sham 69.
Cinema is our one transport to such scenes.