In 1974 as part of the Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in Zaire there was a three day music festival highlighting African and African-American music. Besides footage of legendary music performers such as James Brown, B.B. King, Celia Cruz, and The Spinners director Hinte also gives us a glimpse of what went on in the planning stage and behind the scenes.
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte worked as the editor on the award winning documentary "When We Were Kings" by director Leon Gast. He had the foresight to keep the footage of the music festival and has now reworked it to create this documentary. Organized by Stewart Levine and Hugh Masekela the festival went on despite the fact that due to an injury to Foreman the fight was delayed. Hinte has included footage from the festival, rehearsals that happened in New York, backstage glimpses, clips from Ali and Don King, and scenes right from the streets of the city the fight took place in (Kinshasa).
Don't expect something like "Woodstock" when you sit down to watch this film. It is more about the behind-the-scenes goings on rather than the music. It is not simply a concert film because of the backstage footage and insight you get from the performers themselves. You get to see the problems that can arise for organizers of such festivals when it comes to getting financial backing – this one almost did not happen because of that exact reason. When you are talking about putting on a huge concert in Africa in the 1970s even getting a stage erected takes a lot of time and effort.
It is a comprehensive look at the festival. The only thing that struck me as missing while watching this was the fact that George Foreman is not included. By George's choice or the director's, I wondered because it could not possibly be an oversight. As a far as documentaries go this one does its job as it captures a moment in time.