MAKING A SONG & DANCE ABOUT BLACK HERITAGE FILMS
R&V is on the good foot as a supported partner in the BFI’s Musicals season, celebrating musical films across the UK. https://www.bfi.org.uk/musicals
Our programme, Bright & Beautiful: A Black Musical Heritage Review will showcase the films Carmen Jones (1954), Dreamgirls (2006) and Cabin in the Sky (1943), and profiling celebrities of yesteryear: Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Dandridge, and Harry Belafonte.
Carmen Jones – film + 1950s Social Dance performance – 18th January West Norwood Library & Picturehouse https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/carmen-jones-film-screening-heritage-dance-performance-tickets-87831391055
Cabin in The Sky: Faith & Film Night + Q&A Discussion – 14 December 2019
Details and booking link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cabin-in-the-sky-faith-film-movie-night-tickets-84290143087
SPOTLIGHT ON A HITS MACHINE
Hitsville: The Making of Motown Dir. Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner, Documentary
The creation of Tamla Motown Records by the visionary music guru Berry Gordy is one of the most epic success stories of the twentieth century. It has been told many times and in many splendid ways: on film, stage (on Broadway, and for the past three years in London’s West End), and on TV…
This new doc purports to chronicle the ‘astronomical success and enduring cultural impact’ of the label, and was made to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary in 2019. It claims to have the full blessing of Gordy, and as far as documentary and objectivity go, this could mean it’s a vanity project. But, Hitsville is ram-jammed with the upbeat, inspirational, transformational music that defined a generation, so that will soon be forgiven and forgotten.
Besides, the whole Motown Family is featured, with interviews and performances from the likes of Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, as well as Gordy and his sideman Smokey Robinson, plus admirers and commentators like Jamie Foxx and Dr. Dre.
R&VFF dreams of screening Hitsville alongside the fantastic Standing in the Shadows of Motown (Dir. Paul Justman, 2002), which told the story of The Funk Brothers, the Motown band behind the chart-topping sounds at the label’s music factory in Detroit, before Gordy Pied-Pipered the brand to LA – leaving the band behind.
The Gift Dir.Julien Temple, Documentary, 2020
This documentary about Shane McGowan, singer/songwriter/frontman of The Progues, is described as ‘raw and unflinching’, and is slated to ‘shed new light’ on the edgy punk-folk rocker. McGowan and his band enjoyed global fame in the 1980s, and Temple’s film combines archive and new material: interviews, footage of family life, concerts, as well the customary talking heads. The director’s other films include The Great Rock and Roll Swindle (1982), The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball, and Absolute Beginners, so much is expected.