11/22/2019 08:00 pm – Krypta der Marktkirche

United States 2018 89 min English original version

Alan Elliott and Sydney Pollack
Editor: Jeff Buchanan, Producers: Joe Boyd, Alan Elliott, Rob Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Spike Lee, with: Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, C.L. Franklin, Mick Jagger, Alexander Hamilton, Southern California Community Choir

The year is 1972 and Aretha Franklin is at the pinnacle of her career. Still, after 20 studio albums and numerous number one hits, the Queen of Soul decides to return to her musical roots: in Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts district of Los Angeles she gives a concert together with the Southern California Community Choir and gospel legend Reverend James Cleveland and allows it to be recorded for release. AMAZING GRACE is more than just a concert film. It is an experience of pure soul power, a compelling act of musical worship and a fascinating historical document, with Mick Jagger among the guests. Never before has an audience seen the blessed vocalist from so close-up, so concentrated and full of humility – captured for posterity by a film team under the direction of Sydney Pollack.

More information:

“Dear Ms. Franklin,
My name is Sydney Pollack and I am a film director. I’m also a huge fan of yours. A long time ago, I was asked by Warner Bros. if I would ‘help them out’ and organize a way to film you and the James Cleveland choir during your recording of AMAZING GRACE. I had no experience in documentaries, but I was excited to be able to watch you record and to try and film it.

I’ve often wondered about that footage over the years and so some months ago I called the studio to find out about it and to suggest that we try to put some of it together and see what’s there. To that end, I have had a young man trying to synch up the tracks which is an enormous job since all five cameras were shooting at random.” (extract of a letter from Sydney Pollack to Aretha Franklin, September 23, 1998)


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