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Alex Gibney’s “Finding Fela,” Is Now Streaming on Netflix

Alex Gibney’s “Finding Fela,” Is Now Streaming on Netflix

Finding Fela

The film, directed by the Oscar-winning director, Alex Gibney, tells the story of Fela’s life, musical journey and mastery.

By Hope Ibiale

The Alex Gibney-directed documentary, Finding Fela, is now streaming on Netflix. The documentary, released originally in 2014, explores the life and accomplishments of the Nigerian music icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The film, directed by the Oscar-winning director, Alex Gibney, tells the story of Fela’s life, musical journey and mastery.

This in-depth documentary examines the man who created Afrobeat, a unique fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock. The film also delves into the musician’s political impact, activism, and music’s social importance.

The documentary stars Femi Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Bill T. Jones, Seun Kuti, Kewe Anikulapo Kuti, John Darnton, Jim Lewis, Paul McCartney, Toni Allen, Hettie Barnhill, and many others. Finding Fela also features some archived footage of the music star, 17 of Fela’s classic tracks, a never-before-released live version of “Colonial Mentality,” recorded in Fela’s hometown.

While describing the documentary, director Alex Gibney describes it as “looking at [Fela] in the past and the attempt to recreate his magic in the present as a way of finding the essence of what makes him tick, and why we care about him so much still many years afterwards.”

Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney

Finding Fela

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Finding Fela has received mixed reviews from critics. Geoffrey Berkshire of Variety, said in his review: “This watchable but rather rote chronicle fails to find a compelling perspective on Kuti’s significant life and legacy.” At the same time, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film by describing it as “An absorbing if not quite definitive patchwork of the life and legacy of an unorthodox artist.”

Since its release, Finding Fela has premiered at the 30th Sundance film festival, and it was nominated at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards in the Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical) category alongside other documentaries like Documented, I am Ali, Keep on Keepin On, and Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. Extracts from the film featured in the 2015 British Library exhibition West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song.

Finding Fela is now streaming on Netflix.

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