The International Film Festival kicked off in our town this week, and there's a ton of fine cinematic treats on offer. If you're a music fan, make sure you catch Soul Power. It had its first screening this afternoon, and I can report it's a stone killer. Second and last screening in Auckland is this Tuesday night, at 6.30pm, Skycity Theatre.
Soul Power documents the Zaire ‘74 all-star concert that set the stage for Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s legendary Rumble in the Jungle. Originally uncovered during the editing of Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings (1996), which captured the Ali/Foreman fight, this sizzling footage has been waiting nearly 35 years to see the light. Kings incorporated just a few tantalizing glimpses of the three-day concert.
Soul Power sets the record straight by featuring complete, historic performances from legends such as B.B. King, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz and the Fania Allstars, The Spinners, and an incendiary James Brown, whose 1971 single lends the film its title.
Like the Rumble itself, the Zaire ‘74 concert marked a seminal moment of cross-cultural contact, bringing together African and Black American musicians for a festival spanning geography and generations. Shot by acclaimed cinematographers including Albert Maysles and Paul Goldsmith, the verité-style doc captures the event’s political and spiritual intensity with intimacy and style.Watch the trailer, read our exclusive interview with the director, check out video of Celia Cruz’s performance.