- Paul Dale
- 9 July 2009
Just when you thought there were no more films to be made about the Muhammad Ali/George Foreman bout in Zaire in 1974 there comes a remarkable film about the 12-hour, three-night-long concert which took place around the event.
In 1974 musician Hugh Masekela and producer Stewart Levine made good on their pipe dream to bring together the very best African and American R&B musicians together at an African concert. They managed to convince boxing promoter Don King to allow them to combine the event with ‘the Rumble in the Jungle’, the hyped boxing grudge match previously essayed in Academy Award-winning documentary When We Were Kings.
Using footage shot entirely at the time by legends of the music vérité documentary form (Albert Gimme Shelter Maysles, Paul Rust Never Sleeps Goldsmith, Kevin Harlan County, USA Keating and Roderick WATTSTAX Young), Soul Power shows the experience and performances of, among many others, James Brown, Bill Withers and Miriam Makeba. Director Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and editor David Smith have done a brilliant job of putting what was obviously acres of footage into a fascinating trajectory. And then there’s the music. An unmitigated joy.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 10–Thu 16 Jul. GFT, Glasgow, from Fri 24 Jul.