Music Films

The Afro-Cuban All Stars at the Salon of Dreams

     

Shot in Havana while Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer and the Afro Cuban All Stars were still living in their original homes, this is an affectionate and touching picture of some of the great musicians from the Golden Age of Cuban music who were living in obscure retirement until they were rounded up to record in the Egrem Studios, to make a series of records that have been a sensation throughout the world.

Made shortly before Wim Wenders filmed the same musicians for Buena Vista Social Club.

Tom Hibbert, The Observer, 19th July 1998:

They've kicked Lord Bragg off the wireless now that he's been elevated to the peerage; one hopes that he will remain on telly presenting programmes like this.


amazon.co.uk (review of the dvd)

Wonderful, telling the story of young band leader Juan de Marcos Gonzáles and his efforts to reunite some of the stars of the golden age of Cuban music. The film works as much as travelogue as music documentary, painting a poignant portrait of a grand old city in decline--quite the opposite story of the musicians involved. Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González and Pio Leyva are all elderly artists who, having assumed that their moment had past, are clearly enjoying a second time in the sun. The story of their revival is both moving and inspiring (one of the best moments comes as Ferrer and González drive round Havana in an open topped car, raging about the US and its bully-boy tactics) and achieves that rare feat--a documentary that holds the interest whether or not the viewer is an aficionado of the music.


John Lee Hooker

  • Silver Medal ­ New York Film Festival
  • International Monitor Award

This definitive portrait of the legendary blues singer follows his passage from Clarkesdale, Mississippi, to Detroit, where he began recording in the forties, to San Francisco.

 

 

Watch this extract on Youtube!


 Lenny Henry Hunts the Funk

The comedian goes to Harlem and Prince's Paisely Park, in search of the heroes of Funk music. Featuring James Brown, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Peewee Ellis etc.

Lewis Jones: Daily Telegraph
"By far the sexiest programme on television this weekend . . . . more

Bruce Dessau: Time Out
"'Lenny Henry Hunts the Funk' is more like 'Arena' than 'The South Bank Show' , going for the offbeat approach rather than the usual po-faced appreciation.

Kevin Jackson, Independent
"Tony Knox's film was fast, funny and, yes, funky to boot. . . . . It must have left more than one viewer terminally splanked. A treat.. more

 

 

Watch this extract on Youtube!


The Blind Boys in Brooklyn

Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama met in a Blind School in Alabama in the thirties, and have become the greatest a capella gospel singers in the United States. This film shows them in concert in the Institutional Church of God in Christ in the heart of Brooklyn.


Orpheus Behind The Wire ­ Hans Werner Henze

A haunting portrait of the composer Hans Werner Henze, who grew up in the Hitler Youth movement, and later became a leading German Revolutionary.

Sheridan Morley: The Times
"Tony Knox's South Bank Show film about the life and work of Hans Werner Henze was a model of how music documentaries can best be made . . . "more

John Lyttle: City Limits:
"Alive with smoke, unexpected camera angles, extreme close-ups and the most compelling types of archive footage, Tony Knox's intimately etched profile of composer Hans Werner Henze highlights the South Bank Show's too seldom knack for rendering the relatively little known immediately understandable. It's a dark, flowing film, festooned with resonant frames. . . ". more

Martin Hoyle: Time Out:
"This beautifully shot study of the most successful living opera composer ...".

Hugh Hebert: The Guardian:
"Tony Knox's Orpheus Behind The Wire is an assured and satisfying resolution of how to make a film not just about music, but about the ideas of music. . . ". more

Daily Telegraph
"...this cleverly filmed portrait by Tony Knox."

Evening Standard
"An edition that can be enthusiastically recommended . . . . The blend of Henze's music from Orpheus Behind the Wire and scenes from the Nazi Germany in which he grew up launch the film with hypnotic power, . . . . more


John Ogdon

  • Finalist: New York Film Festival

The brilliant but troubled pianist filmed shortly before his death. Includes the origination of a new suite on his favourite film, Moby Dick.

Time Out:
"
This profile of the pianist John Ogdon keeps you in thrall. . . ."

 

Tony Knox working with John Ogdon during the making of the film


Revolution and Romance

The conductor John Eliot Gardiner , founder of the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, makes the discovery that the great Symphonies of Beethoven were inspired by marching songs of the French Revolution.


Talvin Singh: Sounds of the Asian Underground

The multi-talented Asian/British DJ, tabla-player and impresario filmed in the early days of his success. Includes contributions by Björk and Courtney Pine, and a performance of Jaan, with Amar as vocalist, filmed live in the Anokha Club in Hoxton square.


The Smiths: From Start to Finish

Made during the final year of the Great English Band, this film has become cult viewing throughout the world of British music. With contributions from Linder, Morrissey, John Peel and Sandy Shaw. Inspired a generation, including Damon of Blur, who said recently that it was this film that led him to become a musician.

 

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