Soul Power

Soul Power

2009, PG-13, 93 min. Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.

REVIEWED By Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Aug. 21, 2009

The "Rumble in the Jungle" was the main event, but this concert in the Congo was a hell of an undercard. The three-day festival in Zaire paired James Brown, B.B. King, and Bill Withers with top African talent before the epic 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman title bout. Soul Power serves as a companion piece to 1996 documentary When We Were Kings, mining the same 16mm archival footage that sat in rusty cans in a Jersey warehouse for three decades. The film uncorks such magical moments as Celia Cruz belting out "Cuando Llegaré" accompanied by King's strumming on the 13-hour flight and Ray Barretto inciting a jamming drum circle at an open-air Kinshasa market. The concert commences with Withers' devastating ballad "Hope She'll Be Happier," but Brown – who, like Ali, transcended entertainment – is the star of the show. Artfully stitched together sans narration, Soul Power stands alongside Wattstax as a critical concert film of the Black Power era. (This review originally ran in the March 19 daily issue printed during the South by Southwest Film Festival ’09.)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Films
Here Today
Crystal and Haddish bond beautifully in this bittersweet comedy

Richard Whittaker, May 7, 2021

Initiation
Updated campus slasher flick gets the tech right, but not much else

Shane Pfender, May 7, 2021

More by Thomas Fawcett
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Dallas Acid blows some bubbles, KUTX remembers the Armadillo, and more music for the moment

Aug. 14, 2020

Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Local trio finds the fire of the jaguar

July 3, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Soul Power, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle