Bird Now

A Belgian documentary feature about the great jazz musician Charlie Parker, shot in New York and in English by Marc Huraux. Interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, are featured, as well as a few bits of (not always successful) docudrama and poetry. While the results are mixed, this film's impressionistic treatment of its subject is infinitely superior to the mindless talking-heads format that usually dominates such efforts and is not entirely absent here. Sticking mainly to footage of contemporary city landscapes (mostly in Harlem) while a variety of musical and interview material is heard offscreen, the film at least has the virtue of not claiming any more knowledge about its subject than it shows—what you see is what you get—and the interviews with two of Parker's former wives are especially affecting.

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