Soul Power 

B.B. King

B.B. King

Jeffrey Levy-Hint's rough-hewn, hugely enjoyable Soul Power is both a tantalizing footnote to When We Were Kings, the 1996 documentary about George Foreman and Muhammad Ali's 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle," and a celebration of the nearly forgotten three-day music festival that took place in Zaire six weeks before the big fight. There's more good music in 93 minutes here than in all the Woodstock footage available.

Levy-Hint assembles his film without voiceover or commentary, resulting in an altogether more immersive thing than most music docs. The scenes detailing the business arrangements for the concert can't hope to measure up to the performances, but once the concert gets rolling, privileged moments abound: Manu DiBango's impromptu street-corner showcase with local African kids; B.B. King, looking professorial in glasses, as he works through his proposed set list backstage; Ali soliloquizing about hungry, underfed African flies and buying into Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko's illusory paradise; the sheer flamboyance of the Spinners' matching Shazam sportcoats; Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars keeping everyone awake on the 14-hour flight by jamming endlessly in the aisles; Don King expounding on his "mode of operandi"; Miriam Makeba proudly proclaiming every syllable of her impossible-for-Europeans-to-pronounce name to a joyful crowd; James Brown asserting, "Don't bury me while I yet live."

One complaint: Why did Levy-Hint include all of a minor Bill Withers acoustic number while only showing a couple of minutes of the amazing performances from Afropop giants Franco and Rochereau? One hopes the DVD will resolve this issue.

Favorite

Tags:

Soul Power
Rated PG-13 · 93 min. · 2009
Official Site: www.sonyclassics.com/soulpower
Director: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Producer: Leon Gast, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and David Sonenberg
Cast: Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Celia Cruz, B.B. King, Don King and Miriam Makeba

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Soul Power

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • The Disaster Artist

      James Franco’s hilarious love letter to the worst film ever.
    • Lady Bird

      Greta Gerwig directs Saoirse Ronan in the dazzling coming of age comedy
    • Justice League

      DC and Warner Brothers Pay $300 Million For Massive Public Humiliation

Blogs

From My Seat

1997-2017: Twenty Years of Memphis Sports

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Letterman Jacket

Tiger Blue

Tigers 90, Bryant 72

Intermission Impossible

Waiting for Godot, J & K Cabaret, Elves, Fairies, Ghosts, and Actors

Music Blog

Rock Against Racism Rises Again

Beyond the Arc

The Hustle Dispatch: Week 5

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Addison Engelking

Readers also liked…

  • Prince 1958-2016

    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Outflix Film Festival 2017

    The Homegrown Festival Marks Twenty years of Bringing LBGTQ Films To The Mid-South
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • A Bigger Splash

    Tilda Swinton and Ray Finnes deal with First World Problems
    • Jun 1, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation