An in-depth look at the unsolved 1994 Loughinisland massacre, where six Irishmen were murdered, presumably by a Unionist paramilitary group, while watching the World Cup at the local pub in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland.
Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.
In the beginning it comes across as a doc about the B'way play. How they struggled with portraying Fela, a complex, powerful yet conflicted God. How to explain The Man to those that likely have never heard of him, much less know and love his music and his message. Like explaining Buddha or Jesus, its a bit slow but an interesting challenge.
Then Fela's personal history and the larger context of his family, nation, education and temperament come into play. Subtle but gradually more engaging, gathering steam. Again mimicking the progression of a Fela arrangement.
The meat of the film is quite cogent and lays out the philosophy and politics that drive Fela's life. Surrounding himself with lovers and followers, standing up and mocking those who make Nigerian life such a struggle. That Fela never shied away, backed down, in fact only made stronger by the oppression of his situation, this comes across very well.
Musically it does a decent job of explaining the extraordinary level of Fela's three principal bands. Interviews with the Players are very insightful in both the incredible musicianship and dedication to the pursuit. But for those of us that saw Fela live and still listen, collect and love his music, for understandable reasons it is here the film falls just a bit short. As the record companies said, "What three minutes of this 25 minute song can we put on the radio?". And thus one has to be content with the interviews and brief concert footage. This is not a concert film.
Likely if you are watching this film, Fela's long format songs are familiar and inspire film goers to drop everything for 30 minutes and drop a needle on listening to a full length "Zombie" or "Expensive S**t".
Some the film editing/audio cuts are quite extraordinary. Post on this must have been a bear but this team really delivers.
Most moving- at least for me- was the unfolding story of Fela's funeral. It too plays out like one of his songs. When someone says a million people show up, it comes across as an exaggeration until you see the footage. Powerful.
Truly one of the greats. Of Africa. Of Music. Of Philosophy. Fela.
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