News Column

SIGHT AND SOUNDS Autumn's musical movies

August 31, 2014

Alongside the slew of new albums, this autumn offers an unusually rich selection of movies on a musical theme, with big-name biopics and documentaries hitting UK cinemas over the next two months. (There is also a new festival dedicated to music documentaries, Doc'n Roll, at the Hackney Picturehouse in east London from 25 to 28 September.) Here are five films not to be missed.

Jimi: All is By My Side (24 Oct)

This Jimi Hendrix biopic, written and directed by John Ridley (writer of 12 Years a Slave), boasts a striking lead performance from Andre Benjamin, aka OutKast rapper Andre 3000. Set in London in 1966-67, when Hendrix was on the brink of fame, the film deals with the romantic entanglements that coincided with his rise to stardom.

Finding Fela! (5 Sept)

The extraordinary life and career of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti is explored in this documentary, which had its premiere at Sundance this year. Directed by prolific film-maker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, The Armstrong Lie), it pays particular attention to the Nigerian musician's political influence.

Get on Up (21 Nov)

This biopic of James Brown, which traces his rise from poverty to soul godfather status, won praise for its relatively unknown lead, Chadwick Boseman, who brings tremendous energy to his portrayal of the funk legend. Brown's performances are skilfully recreated using the original recordings, which required lip-synching and some deft staging.

20,000 Days on Earth (19 Sept)

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's drama-documentary (see article on previous spread), co-written by its subject, imagines a day in the life of Nick Cave as he submits to psychoanalysis, lunches with Warren Ellis and gives rides around Brighton in his Jag to Ray Winstone, Blixa Bargeld and Kylie Minogue.

Soul Boys of the Western World (3 Oct)

The rise and demise of Spandau Ballet is charted in George Hencken's documentary about the band, which draws together newsreel footage, interviews with the five members and video from personal archives. The premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, with a Q&A and live performance from the band, will be broadcast live across UK cinemas on 30 September. KF

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Source: Observer (UK)

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