"John & Yoko's Year of Peace"

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(8/11/02) "John & Yoko's Year of Peace," a 58-minute Canadian documentary to be released on DVD and VHS by Image Entertainment on Sept. 17, recounts the couple's 1969 very public campaign to help promote awareness of peace.

Looking back on it now, John and Yoko's undertaking was both brave and doomed from the start. All they were saying was give peace a chance. But now, even Yoko herself admits it was a bit naive.

The Establishment was, for the most part, uncooperative. And critics were waiting to pounce on them, accusing them of doing nothing more than seeking publicity. The most vocal was conservative cartoonist Al Capp, who often featured scantily clad women in his "Lil' Abner" comic strip. During his now infamous bedside confrontation with the couple, Capp made no effort to hide his displeasure, going as far to taunt John and belittle Yoko.

But still, the couple pressed on. Their biggest legacy from the campaign came in the song "Give Peace a Chance," which has become an anthem for peace-loving people worldwide.

The majority of the film is non-musical and the film does an earnest job at exploring and explaining John and Yoko's peace mission. The film includes extensive rare archival footage of John and Yoko, plus new interviews with Yoko, John Brower, promoter of the Toronto Peace Festival and rock critic Ritchie Yorke, a Canadian DJ who broadcast his show from their hotel room and a 14-year-old who took home movie footage of them and interviewed them for his school paper.

It may not have been the best way to go about it, but John and Yoko certainly accomplished one thing: In a time when the world was filled with wars and unrest, they helped get people to at least think the word "peace," something the Establishment seemed to want to avoid.

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