The life, music and cultural impact of charismatic performer/activist Fela Kuti is powerfully explored in the compelling new documentary Finding Fela!. No individual better embodies African music of the 1970s and ’80s – and its pivotal role in postcolonial political activism – than Fela Kuti.
“A captivating and meticulous new film from Oscar-winner Alex Gibney.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
After quickly taking his native Nigeria by storm, the pioneering musician’s confrontational Afrobeat sound soon spread throughout the continent and beyond, even as it made determined enemies of the repressive Nigerian military regime. As a result of continued persecution, increasingly unorthodox behavior, and, eventually, complications due to HIV, Kuti’s final years saw his musical output and influence wane. Within the past decade, a resurgence of interest in his work has posthumously re-popularized Kuti, culminating in the massively successful Broadway show FELA!, written by Jim Lewis and directed by Tony Award- winner Bill T. Jones. Academy Award–winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) interweaves the show’s skillful staging with a treasure trove of period interviews and hypnotic performances to recapture the essence of the man, his music, and his enduring cultural and political relevance. (Dir. by Alex Gibney, 2014, USA, 119 mins., Not Rated)