George Michael: Freedom (2017)

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Postby Wayne » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:03 pm


Last night’s George Michael documentary left a lot of people in tears

Fans couldn't help crying after watching the powerful look into the singer's life and legacy

When George Michael died on Christmas day last year, the musical superstar was halfway through completing his autobiographical documentary, George Michael: Freedom. The film was finished posthumously and last night the insightful and honest show was broadcast on C4.

And it gave a lot of people a lot of feelings. Firstly, the documentary made fans appreciate the hits that Michael gifted to the world…

Many were struck by the honest and raw anecdotes peppered throughout, reminding them how open the Wham! singer was…

Viewers were particularly moved by Adele’s touching mellow cover of Michael’s Fast Love…

And, by the end of the film, which documented Michael’s death, many were left in tears: partly because of his passing, yet also thanks to the incredible legacy he left behind… ... -in-tears/
George Michael's 'beautifully heartbreaking' Freedom documentary gives viewers 'goosebumps' as he tells how 'love of his life' died with Aids

The former Wham! singer's last work didn't disappoint

George Michael fans had "goosebumps" as they watched his last work - the documentary Freedom - on Channel 4 tonight.

Days before he died at Christmas last year, George, 53, was working on a documentary about his life and fans prepared themselves for an emotional watch.

The documentary started with Adele singing a moving version of Fast Love - the song she performed at the Grammy's.

But fans weren't prepared to hear George tell in his own words the devastating story of how the "love of his life" died with Aids in 1992.George was 27 when he met Anselmo Feleppa in January 1991, spotting the Brazilian fashion designer in the front row at the Rock in Rio concert at the Estadio do Maracana.

And just a year later, George performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness at Wembley Stadium - knowing that Anselmo was dying with Aids.

"The performance probably most well known in my career was sung to my lover who was dying," George explained.

And fans rushed to Twitter to share their heartbreak.

"George doing what he did for Freddie while going though his own inner conflict proved what heart he had," one fan tweeted.

"In absolute floods," another viewer wrote.

"This is heartbreaking," another added.

"This breaks my heart," a third wrote.

"Oh George. So sad, life is cruel," another added.

"And then the devastation. After finally finding his true love. So short-lived," another fan tweeted.

But it was George's music that gave fans "so many goosebump moments".

One viewer tweeted: "So sad and yet so beautiful, my heart could burst."

Another wrote: "So beautifully heartbreaking to watch!"

The first hour told the incredible story of George's rise to fame and fans sang along as stars including Liam Gallagher, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Mary J. Blige gave their reactions to his greatest hits.

But the documentary also told the story of George's life - and revealed that Christmas was linked with two of the worst moments of his life.

George revealed that on Christmas Day in 1991, he was waiting to find out if the "love of his life" Anselmo Feleppa had been diagnosed with Aids.

“I sat at the Christmas table not knowing whether my partner, who the people around the table did not know about... not knowing whether the man I was in love with was terminally ill," he said.

He sat with his family – dad Jack, mum Lesley and sisters Yioda and Melanie – in the UK while Anselmo had the test in Brazil.

And George feared for his own health too.

"And therefore not knowing whether I potentially was terminally ill," he said.

"That Christmas was probably the darkest, darkest most frightening time in my life."

George was 27 when he met Anselmo in January 1991, spotting the Brazilian fashion designer in the front row at the Rock in Rio concert at the Estadio do Maracana.

“At the front of 160,000 people there was this guy over at the right-hand side of the stage that just fixed me with this look,” George says.

“He was so cute. I was so distracted by him, I stayed away from that corner, because otherwise I thought I was going to get really distracted and forget the words. The moment I looked at him I got the feeling he was going to be a part of my life.”

Having become the world’s biggest-selling artist in 1988 after the release of debut solo album Faith, George found the spotlight isolating without Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley sharing it.

“Anselmo was the first time I think I really loved someone selflessly,” says George. “He was very full of energy, very loving. I was happier than I’d ever been.

“It’s still very hard for me to explain how finding a companion at that stage in my life changed me. And such a beautiful companion, an amazing person.”

A few months into their relationship, Anselmo developed a lasting flu and they were at George’s LA home when he was advised to take a HIV test.

“I remember the terror of me understanding that this was possibly the beginning of an illness,” says George.

Not wanting to spoil George’s Christmas, Anselmo did not fly to London to deliver his diagnosis until the New Year. In the documentary, which features home movie footage of the couple, George says: “I was absolutely devastated to find out he had a terminal illness... just devastated.”

In the meantime, George’s friend Freddie Mercury had died of bronchial pneumonia caused by Aids. When George sang Queen classic Somebody to Love in tribute to the rock icon at Wembley Stadium in April 1992, Anselmo was in the audience – but he was sworn to secrecy about his illness.

“I went out there knowing I had to honour Freddie Mercury and I had to pray for Anselmo,” says George.

“I just wanted to die inside. I was so overwhelmed by singing the songs of this man I had worshipped as a child, who had passed away in the same manner my first living partner was going to experience. The performance most well known in my career was sung to my lover who was dying.”

Anselmo had returned to Brazil for a blood transfusion in March 1993 when he died of a brain haemorrhage, aged 33. A friend called George in LA, to deliver the news. “Then it all goes blurry for a long time,” recalls George. “He still – 23 years later – brings a tear to my eye. He was my saviour.”

George channelled his heartache into an ongoing legal battle with his record label, Sony. He had felt his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 was marketed poorly and accused Sony of “professional slavery”.

Lifelong friend and former manager David Austin, who was co-director and executive producer on the 90-minute documentary, said George learned that Anselmo was dying during the court case.

He says: “All these things happened at the same time. Obviously nobody knew, he hadn’t come out at the time. He was on the stand... he hadn’t come out, his boyfriend was dying, he was holding this close to his chest, which was just devastating for him.”

George lost his High Court battle in July 1994. “The whole thing was a complete waste of time,” he says.

Bought out of his contract by Virgin, his grief inspired the 1996 album Older, including his ode to his lost love, Jesus to a Child. But as George started to cope with his grief, he was dealt another devastating blow.

“I had about a six-month period where things were OK and then I found out that my mother had cancer.”

In December 1996, Lesley was told the disease was terminal and she was allowed home from hospital to spend a final Christmas with her family.

George was at her side for her final few days at London’s Charing Cross Hospital in February 1997.

“I was so spiritually crushed after mum died,” says George. “So crushed and felt so bloody picked on by the gods. For all of my adult life she was phenomenal. Terrible, horrible loss.” He admits he “hit rock bottom” in the following years, sinking to a new low from which he never fully recovered.

“I took it very, very badly,” he reflects. “I’d never felt that kind of depression. It was something different to grief. It was on top of grief, I was grieving for my mother still, but it was something else. It was the darkest time.”

In September 2016, George invited Radio 4’s Kirsty Young to his home in Goring-upon-Thames, Oxon, to conduct the rare and candid interview, which would provide the audio for his narration to the film.

Tragically, George was found dead in bed on Christmas Day at the home, killed by heart and liver disease.

In March, he was buried beside his mother in Highgate Cemetery.

His almost-finished work will be aired next week with a new introduction by model Kate Moss and features stars including Liam Gallagher, Mary J Blige, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. ... m-11353446
George Michael fans thank Channel 4 for ‘painful but perfect’ documentary

George Michael fans have been left overwhelmed after the premiere of George Michael: Freedom, a new Channel 4 documentary that was nearly finished when Michael passed away on December 25 2016.

Freedom aired on Monday night and featured friends of George’s such as Elton John and Kate Moss reminiscing about the singer, who died on Christmas Day last year.

George was a co-director and the film was meant to be an autobiographical portrait of his career, although following his death it became something much more poignant.

Freedom, which aired almost ten months after is death, shed some light on some of the more intimate moments of the notoriously private star’s life including his fears he was HIV positive, calling it the ‘darkest, most frightening time in my life’.

Speaking in the film, he said: ‘Anselmo [Feleppa] and I were in LA when he was advised to go for his test. I remember him leaving the house, and to this day I remember looking at the sky and saying “Don’t you dare do this to me”.

I was 27 going on 28 but by that time you think that’s a lifetime to have been waiting to be loved.’

He added: ‘He had the test in Brazil. I went home for Christmas and sat at the Christmas table not knowing whether my partner, who the people sitting around the table did not know about, not knowing whether this man was terminally ill and not knowing whether potentially I was terminally ill.

‘That Christmas was the darkest most frightening time in my life.’

George went on: ‘I was absolutely terrified of losing him and the prospect of watching him die of AIDS.’

Read more: ... to=cbshare
It's received outstanding reviews and it is genuinely one of the most incredible pieces of docu-dramas on music I have ever seen.

I cannot profess enough how much I miss him after having watched it - there's an almost a feeling of ache come the end of the program, a feeling I remember feeling after his death was announced.

Will be obsessing over his amazing catalogue over the next few days!
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Postby Thriller » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:39 am

It was very moving and really interesting - I'm glad it spanned his entire career (although the last 15 years were a bit rushed but I guess there was a lot to say about the Faith and LWP eras). It's a shame he didn't appear in it talking to camera but the narration was enough I suppose.

It's sad to think that he had the world at his feet but felt so unhappy and then the love of his life is cruelly snatched away. That last clip when he said he wanted to be remembered as a great songwriter, then half-joked it was all probably a waste of time :cry: I hope he knew deep down how influential and respected he was.

Could've done without James Corden.
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