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My Friend Fela

An outstanding documentary that unravels with skill and precision the life of an extraordinary man whose myth and music has endured long after his death.

Dir-Scr Joel Zito Araújo
Prod Joel Zito Araújo, Luiza Botelho Almeida
Brazil
2019
94min
Sales Wide House
With partial English subtitles (some scenes are not in the English language)

Fela Kuti inspired a generation of Africans and African Americans with his own unique style of music, known as Afrobeat. A combination of Afropop, jazz, highlife, juju and funk, it was infused with social and political criticism of the military dictatorship in Nigeria. With an expertly assembled mix of interviews and archive footage, director Joel Zito Araújo presents a complex portrait of an enigmatic and often troubled man. A deserving winner of the Paul Robeson Award for Best Film at FESPACO, Africa’s largest film festival, in Burkina Faso, My Friend Fela is uncompromising in its exploration of one of the most charismatic artists of the late 20th century, whose principles and actions have sometimes proven as problematic as they have been inspirational.

Keith Shiri

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