Monday, June 29, 2009


Whenever we sit down to watch or otherwise get unexpectedly sucked into Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings, there always occurs a rift in our allegiance that is built in to the movie itself. There is the desire, which the movie shares, to follow the story of the “Rumble in the Jungle” and Muhammad Ali’s connection with/exploitation of the people of Zaire to boost his superhuman ego and build upon his confidence going into the fight while simultaneously undermining that of George Foreman. But there is also the element of the surrounding music festival which the movie uses as a framing device, one that is never allowed to become much more than that, leaving the viewer a tantalizing glimpse at the royal gathering of R&B musical giants assembled to celebrate this coming home of two African-American sports celebrities to their ostensible roots. For whatever reason—entangled publishing rights, unavailable footage, or a simple eye toward the movie’s running time—this jubilant, gyroscopically, sensually spectacular element of the movie, which hits the ground running with the Crusaders’ “Young Rabbits” and cruises straight through to James Brown’s extraordinary “Payback” and BB King’s “I Got Some Help I Don’t Need,” necessarily recedes into sidebar territory once the fight, and its mythologically tinged recounting, takes its final hold. But now those of us who have pined mightily to see the Zaire concert take center stage are going to get our wish. I’d seen it online before, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer for Soul Power unspool on the big screen, before a showing of Tetro last night, that I began to get really excited for what promises to be one of the summer’s most enticing and electrifying filmed performances. If you get lucky you’ll see it that way too. But in case you don’t, here it is reduced to YouTube size, and still able to stir your heart even at your office desk. The movie hits American screens in limited release next weekend, July 10. As the Godfather once said, hit me!



Bob Turnbull said...

By all means go see this film...I was very fortunate to have seen it at Toronto last year. I bounded out of the theatre with James Brown's words "Damn right I'm somebody!" still echoing through my skull.

It's a great behind the scenes document from 1974 (instant communication was not so easy), an amazing document of Ali and Brown speaking pretty much directly to the black youth of America and a phenomenal set of live music. James kicks it on the bookends of the film, but in the middle you have B.B. King belting it out and Miriam Makeba who completely won me over with her class, her beauty and her stunning talent.

I can't wait to see it again. And the DVD better have some more concert footage.

jyotsna said...

There happen to be quite great films that had come out.But the Soul Power is superbbbbb..... It's highly energetic........ The hits of music flowed in my blood !!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!! You too can enjoy d music here
Download Soul Power movie

Anonymous said...

Soul Power is a documentary movie about the music concert held in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire. The concert was organized by noted South African musician Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, who is an American record producer .i like each and everything about the movie....i watch Soul power movie from this website.....