7.1/10
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12 user 67 critic

Soul Power (2008)

A documentary on the legendary soul music concert staged in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.

Director:

(as Jeffrey Levy-Hinte)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Herself (archive footage)
Manu Dibango ...
Himself
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
Lola Love ...
Herself
Franco Luombo ...
Himself
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Herself (archive footage)
Hugh Masekela ...
Himself
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Himself
...
Himself
Sweet Charles Sherrill ...
Himself
Sister Sledge ...
Themselves
Debbie Sledge ...
Herself
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Storyline

A documentary on the legendary soul music concert staged in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

3-day music festival, Kinshasa. Made entirely using footage from 1974. (dvd) See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

10 June 2009 (France)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$23,893 (USA) (10 July 2009)

Gross:

$206,813 (USA) (13 November 2009)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The festival took part in September 22-24, 1974. See more »

Connections

References When We Were Kings (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Never Let You Break My Heart Again
Written by Fred Wesley, Charles Bobbitt, Reggie Bryan
Performed by "Sweet" Charles Sherrell, and the J.B.'s
Under license from Unichappell Music, Inc.
on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
Correcting Misinformation
2 January 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Soul Power is a sizzling documentary which shows a glimpse of Africa in the early 70s, some of the greatest Afro-American entertainers at a difficult transitional stage in American history, Muhammad Ali, and the hijinks of staging a massive festival in the age of walkie-talkies.

This review is primarily meant to address the pans which dismiss Soul Power for being composed of stock footage, and to correct the assertion that Miriam Makeba is the only African performer to appear.

In the first case, it's NOT stock footage. It's footage that, for whatever reason, was unable to be edited or released within a reasonable period after the event. The footage was certainly shot with the aim of creating a film much like the one presented. Only now there is a patina of history which adds a huge dimension to the film. The film quality is exactly what should be expected for a documentary of this era, shot in Africa, and any expectations otherwise are naive.

It's likely that the film would have been edited differently had it been released in 1974 or 1975; the engrossing build-up would probably have been shorter, and the actual concert element would have been longer (my only qualm with the film). But we don't know what additional footage exists (aside from the deleted scenes), so there may not have been many options for the editors. And certainly, film stock buried for nearly four decades is susceptible to damage (see the deleted scene featuring Muhhamad Ali, the GOAT, leaving for Africa). In view of the circumstances, the footage is often gorgeous. Some of the conversation snippets are so fascinating they seem scripted.

In addition to Miriam Makeba, there is a wonderful dance troupe who take the stage as well as Tabu Ley Rochereau and his band Afrisa, and OK Jazz- probably the biggest names in African music during the 1960s/70s before Fela Anikulapo Kuti's ascendancy- and their performances are stunning (with an additional Tabu Ley set piece in the deleted scenes).

Overall, a great flick.


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