The Hands of Bresson

Sundry observations on the art of cinema and world film culture

HoB Returns; Plus, Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power

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The Hands of Bresson have been empty of late, you may have noticed, but not idle. Not at all; far from it. (Though there is nothing wrong with idling! See here.) Six weeks away from the HoB dashboard gave me time to ponder some issues with the present format (a badly needed design update is finally on the way—stay tuned), as well as ruminate on a few chronically unsolvable conundrums, such as my tendency to swing wildly between logorrhea and aphasia (a/k/a “blog death”). What I needed was a more manageable list of priorities, better ergonomics, a cushier task chair…

While waiting for Staples to deliver my new office accoutrements, I did find time to scribble a few items, such as this review of Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power:

“Like Wattstax, shot in 1972 at an L.A. Coliseum concert commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Watts riots, emceed by Richard Pryor and headlined by Isaac Hayes, Soul Power is a booty-bumpin’ verité film that illuminates a specific moment in black political culture. Part time capsule, part chronicle of a transatlantic journey to Mother Africa, Soul Power captures the spirit of optimism and celebratory, homeward-bound impulse of notable black and Latin musicians through the backstage banter and energetic performances of its most legendary participants: James Brown, Celia Cruz, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, Fania All Stars, the Spinners, B.B. King, and many others. Distilled from 125 hours of archived footage, the movie documents “Zaire ’74,” a three-day music festival held in Kinshasa on the eve of the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Muhammad Ali’s famously seismic title bout with then-heavyweight champion George Foreman, previously anatomized in Leon Gast’s Oscar-winning When We Were Kings. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, a prolific producer (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Mysterious Skin) and an editor on Gast’s film, mines the leftovers, reconstructing a star-studded event that languished in the vaults for two decades.”

Click here to read the rest at Reverse Shot.

More to come!


Written by eyemaster

August 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm

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