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Finding Fela 2014
Description: Fela Anikulapo Kuti created the musical movement Afrobeat and used it as a political forum to oppose the Nigerian dictatorship and advocate for the rights of oppressed people. This is the storyline of his life, music, and political importance.
Released: 11 Jun 2015 Director: Alex Gibney Writers: N/A Actors: Fela Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti Genres: Documentary, Biography, History, Music
Trailers and related videos:

See Finding Fela -- Official Trail on youtube.

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See Finding Fela's Talking Hea on youtube.

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See Questlove on Fela Kuti [Extend on youtube.

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See Finding Fela! Movie CLIP - Spi on youtube.

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See Finding Fela! Movie CLIP - Wha on youtube.

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See Finding Fela! (2014) on youtube.

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See Slices of Fela (Part 1) on youtube.

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See 'Finding Fela' African on youtube.

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See Story | Philosophy and Live Of on youtube.

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See IDFA 2014 | Report | Finding F on youtube.

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Finding Fela Reviews:

This film 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, strong yet conflicted God. How to explain The Boy to those that likely have never heard of him, much less know and love his melody and his message. Like explaining Buddha or Jesus, its a bit slow but an interesting challenge.Then Fela's private 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 movie 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 create 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 lvl of Fela's three principal bands. Interviews with the Users are very insightful in both the wonderful musicianship and dedication to the pursuit. But for those of us that saw Fela live and still listen, accumulate and love his music, for understandable reasons it is here the movie falls just a bit short. As the record companies said, "What three mins of this 25 minute song can we place 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 movie goers to drop everything for 30 mins and drop a needle on listening to a full length "Zombie" or "Expensive S**t". Some the movie editing/audio cuts are quite extraordinary. Post on this gotta have been a bear but this squad really delivers.Most moving- at least for me- was the unfolding storyline of Fela's funeral. It too plays out like one of his songs. When someone tells a million folks present 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.


Finding Fela, by Alex Gibney, is quite an ordinary documentary that portrays an extra-ordinary boy and his story.Of course the film is a must-see for music-lovers, in particular jazz fans. There are many clips and concert fragments to enjoy, even if some of them are a tiny less sharp due to the age of the footage, which sometimes looks like it was taken from Youtube. But the film offers more; it says the storyline of an activist who is using 'music as a weapon' and his lifestyle as an example of freedom. Finally the film also puts Fela's melody at an necessary zone in musical history, recognizing it as one of the building blocks and milestones of jazz, bringing in elements of soul, funk, rock and African sounds. Fela named it Afrobeat.Like some another musicians in the 60s and 70s Fela likes to enjoy long cores, sometimes for over more than 30 minutes, making it difficult to enjoy his melody on the radio. In his defense, he wonders why no-one ever questioned Beethoven or Bach for writing long pieces of music. I would tell that even in his own time slot and not only in jazz, there were more musicians that should not be bothered by 3-minute frames, think of Frank Zappa or Deep Purple.The private storyline of Fela the boy and his Nigerian roots completes the musical story, and makes him truly stand out. His struggle vs the Nigerian government, lead by Obasanjo who came from a related family in the same part of the country as Fela Kuti did, is a harsh one. This common background and the prestige of the Kuti family, might have saved Fela for some years, but in the end the military acted out, causing Fela's beloved mother to die, his home to be eradicated and Fela being place in jail. Although the movie doesn't display all the features about this attack, the severity and cruel nature is clearly portrayed. It is shocking to realize what happened, and to know tiny has changed in the years after. The fact that Fela never left the country to live somewhere else, is something to admire.The director chose to take the performance of the American made musical – Fela – in Lagos as the hook to say his story, which is a nice idea, particularly to explain something about how hard it is to understand Fela, his mind and the context in which he lived. It also explains the game of the movie: the director of the musical discusses these things with Fela's friends, family and fellow-musicians. They test to receive an concept about what made Fela tick and how to show that in the musical. This is a smart method to create the audience part of the search. But to my mind clips from the musical took up too much time; it is so much better to look at and listen to the true Fela, that it gets annoying to watch actors enjoy Fela (however well done). But if this is the only mission of criticism, it is simple to overcome. Listen to Fela through his recordings, and see the film for meal for thought about this brave and talented man.


Alex Gibney's Finding Fela is a very great documentary that recalls the life and times of Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti. Gibney does a nice job of intercutting video footage of the musical artist, alongside interviews with folks familiar with him, as well as his admirers. Though over long, this documentary does its job just fine.The movie takes us through Fela's life, including interviews with folks who knew or were familiar with the artist: his manager, Rikki Stein; his drummer, Tony Allen; Sandra Izadore, a musician who worked with him; and even a brief interview with Paul McCartney. It shows us his early days when as a young boy he decided, while living in Nigeria, to head to London. Fela's career rose as a famous musician, who used songs and words in the 1970's, instead of violence, to protest the fight in his country, as well as addressing another social problems going on in the globe at that time. Fela eventually died from AIDS in 1997, and millions of folks showed up at his funeral to pay their respects to him and what he stood for.A lot of Finding Fela seems to be thrown together, but this movie is intercut in a very interesting way. While it does say us the storyline of Fela, this documentary is also about the making of a musical based off of Fela's life. So while we (the audience) are watching the documentary styled life story, we are also being shown scenes from the musical being rehearsed as if they were being shown in a true historical documentary format. We even receive a stage where we're shown the shrine that Fela performed in as it is today and not just in the past or in clips. This way, the movie is more than just a documentary, it is also an overall tribute to Fela's influence and music.The movie portrays Fela as a human being, not as a character or as a villain, but as someone who had flaws, such as his belief in unprotected sex which led to his contracting AIDS. I admire the movie for that, because it should have been a finished love letter and shown Fela as the excellent human being, when just like all of us, he wasn't.This is the first time I ever now encountered Fela Kuti's name. After watching this documentary, I'm now interested in researching more about the singer who led a cute interesting life, if this documentary is anything to go by.



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