SXSW Film

Daily Reviews and Interviews

SXSW Film

Soul Power

Documentary Feature, 24 Beats per Second
D: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

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 Ali-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 magical moments like 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.


Thursday, March 19, 2:30pm, Paramount

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More by Thomas Fawcett
SXSW Music Keynote: Beastie Boys
SXSW Music Keynote: Beastie Boys
Ad-Rock and Mike D remain funny to us, too

March 16, 2019

SXSW Music Review: Kokoko!/Bixiga 70/Jojo Abot
SXSW Music Review: Kokoko!/Bixiga 70/Jojo Abot
Afro tsunami lays waste to Sixth Street world music hub

March 15, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Soul Power

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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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