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Finding Fela! (2014)

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A look at the life and music of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti.

Director:

Alex Gibney
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Fela Kuti ... Himself (archive footage)
Yeni Kuti Yeni Kuti ... Herself
Femi Kuti Femi Kuti ... Himself
Seun Kuti Seun Kuti ... Himself
Bill T. Jones ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Okwechime Abdul Okwechime Abdul ... Himself
Tony Allen Tony Allen ... Himself
Kewe Anikulapo-Kuti Kewe Anikulapo-Kuti ... Herself
Antibalas ... Himself - Performer
Hettie Barnhill Hettie Barnhill ... Fela Queen
J.K. Braimah J.K. Braimah ... Himself
John Darnton John Darnton ... Himself
Lemi Ghariokwu Lemi Ghariokwu ... Himself
Ogugua Iwelu Ogugua Iwelu ... Himself
Sandra Izsadore Sandra Izsadore ... Herself
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Storyline

A look at the life and music of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 2015 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Fela Kuti - Il potere della musica See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jigsaw Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Winner Canadian Music Week Film Fest 2014 Best Film Award. See more »

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User Reviews

Eminently Enjoyable
21 August 2014 | by stutchSee all my reviews

This movie unfolds a bit like a Fela song…

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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