Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis (2022)

92% – Critics
83% – Audience

Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis Storyline

Celebrated photographer, creative director and filmmaker Anton Corbijn’s first feature documentary SQUARING THE CIRCLE (the story of hipgnosis) tells the story of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, the creative geniuses behind the iconic album art design studio, Hipgnosis, responsible for some of the most recognizable album covers of all time. They formed Hipgnosis in Cambridge during the ferment of the sixties and became rock royalty during the boom time of the seventies. They conjured into existence sights that no one had previously thought possible, produced visuals which popularized music that had previously been considered fringe, and were at the white-hot center of the maddest, funniest and most creative era in the history of popular music. During this period, record companies didn’t dictate to acts like Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney what their LP covers should look like – Storm and Po did. They made money; they lost money. They did great things; they did silly things. They fell out bitterly; they made up. They never played a note, but they changed music. The film features brand new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Graham Gouldman of 10cc, Noel Gallagher, and many more.—Trish D Chetty

Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis Photos

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Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis Movie Reviews

I did not want this film to end!

I was interested after seeing the trailer, and decided to see it, because I knew the director with the unpronounceable name is really good. I loved the film about Joy Division, and his videos are certainly way better than most.

If you’re over a certain age, you’re going to really love this film. If you loved Pink Floyd, and most of the album covers that accompanied the vinyl albums, you are really going to love this film. If you’re curious what Hipgnosis meant, and how they got the name, yes, hope it plays in your town.

Like so much in life, the incredible success story could never make it into a feature film, because it’s too ridiculous to believe. But this was real, and amazing coincidences kept happening, time and time again, making a really wonderful fairy tale, that’s all true.

I see a lot of movies, and as the film ended, I wanted to clap. If you have any chance of seeing this in a theater, don’t miss the opportunity.

You’ll be happy you went.

Not quite as good as the art created within.

This documentary might seem a bit of a deep cut from the outside. The story of a design studio focused on record sleeves. Is it not all a bit boffiny. Well yes a little, but Hipgnosis do have quite a pedigree and with Anton Corbijn at the helm here, what transpires is a celebration of experimentation and creative expression. We all know the artwork. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, T-Rex, Wings… er, 10CC but who was behind it all? Storm Thorgerson has a profile doesn’t he. That’s the (excellent) name you think of, certainly if you’ve been through art school. Po Powell though might be a bit more obscure. The other cofounder, he leads us through the 60s psychedelic boom, those early fumblings as they figured things out, LSD indulgence, riding their luck and falling on their feet, all whilst playing with visuals not seen anywhere else in pop culture. There’s lots of voices here though, Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters (not together of course), Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher who sums things up beautifully saying “They represent the golden age of the music business, where people believed that music was art and it could change the world. Whereas now music is a commodity”. There’s as much about the environment and culture they worked in as how they actually created some of these works, but there’s enough to keep every viewer happy. Whether it’s terrifying stories of Zep’s fearsome manager Peter Grant or Peter Saville hinting his inspiration for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleaures. It’s a fascinating story, made up of hundreds of little stories that paint a picture of a dizzying group of artists all feeding off one another, both good and bad. Egos, excess, flying pigs.

Point, Shoot, Reload, and Repeat

Saw this at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival

“Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis)” is a documentary about Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, the creative geniuses behind the iconic album art design studio, Hipgnosis, responsible for some of the most recognizable album covers of all time. This is director Anton Corbijn’s first documentary feature and for the most part, it was pretty entertaining and well-informed.

Prior to seeing this I had knew about Storm Thorgerson’s work and his impact with album covers and I was a big fan of Pink Floyd growing up and this documentary was pretty interesting to learn about the personal stories behind the iconic album covers, the life of Thorgerson’s work, and listening to many well-known musicals explain their sides of the story and the personal impacts.

The visual presentations was pretty good, the interviews from each participants all felt purposeful and informative, and the overall experience of this documentary was a joy to watch. Some complaints I have were that since the soundtrack relies mostly on songs from Pink Floyd, some of the songs were used inappropriately where the tone and soundtrack didn’t mention the scenario. Including there were some segments that could have been edited out as they felt like filler.

But the overall experience was pretty fun. Fans of Pink Floyd or well known 60s, 70s, or 80s music fans will have a good time watching this film.

Rating: B.