Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony | Chicago Reader

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony

Lee Hirsch's sprawling 2002 history of music's role in the antiapartheid struggle shows how music evolved along with the conflict, shifting from lyrical pining for justice to angry martial imagery and rhythms. The subject matter practically guarantees good things: Hirsch uses a lot of archival stuff as well as new footage and recordings, and the film is carried along by the sheer intensity of feeling in the songs. At times he seems afraid to trust the material's inherent drama and becomes unnecessarily manipulative, staging performances in striking landscapes and playing the footage in slow motion—as if this were an MTV public-service ad for racial justice. But overall it's an informative and entertaining look at the music that drove a revolution. In English and subtitled Zulu. 108 min.

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