Soul Power

“The soundtrack is electrifying, the costumes... breathtakingly sexy, and there's a sense of a new era dawning that's almost palpable in the air.” — Birgit Kohler, Variety
Year: 2008
Country: USA
Running time: 93 mins

Producers: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, David Sonenberg, Leon Gast
Photography: Paul Goldsmith, Kevin Keating, Albert Maysles, Roderick Young
Editor: David Smith
Music: James Brown, Bill Withers, BB King, The Spinners, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars, The Crusaders, Sister Sledge
In English, French, Spanish and Xhosa, with English subtitles

With: Don King, Muhammad Ali, George Plimpton, Stokely Carmichael

Festivals: Toronto 2008; Berlin, San Francisco 2009

Headlining James Brown, ‘Zaire 74’, the music festival of soul and African-diaspora talent that preceded the Ali-Foreman ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, has long lived in legend. More than 30 years later we can finally see and hear why. With access to long-abandoned film and sound recordings, producer/director Jeffrey Levy-Hinte has completed the great concert doco that was always supposed to be. Brown, in peak form, opens and closes the movie, which cherry picks the three-day event for thrilling performances by Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, B.B. King (and Lucille), The Spinners, Bill Withers and more. With the benefit of great digitised sound, what further encouragement do you need to experience it all on the giant screen via footage that might have been shot yesterday? The backstage footage is just as epochal, with Ali, Don King and many more Black Power luminaries fronting up.” — BG

“Another legendary 1970s-era concert sees the light of day through the miracle of technology in the joyously funky Soul Power.” — Eddie Cockrell, Variety


Read The Lumiere Reader's recent review of Soul Power here.