While Respect, Aretha Franklin’s biopic, is currently showing, zoom in on another film dedicated to the Queen of Soul: the documentary Amazing Grace.
In Respect, it is Jennifer Hudson who slips into the skin of Aretha Franklin, but before this biopic, the interpreter of A Natural Woman had herself appeared in cinema, notably in musical documentaries. We could see her in Elvis Presley: The Searcher, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our lives or even Whitney but especially Amazing Grace, which is entirely devoted to her.
This is a film like no other, since it took almost 50 years to reach theaters. It all began in January 1972, when the Queen of Soul recorded a live album in an intimate church in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The record of this legendary concert, titled Amazing Grace, became the best-selling Gospel album of all time, consecrating the success of Aretha Franklin.
A concert totally filmed by Sydney Pollack, a novice in the making of musical documentaries, who had not thought of using a clapperboard used to synchronize sound and image during editing. Result: the 20 hours of rushes shot in 2 days could not be used at the time, despite the intervention of experts.
INVISIBLE FOR TENS OF YEARS
Despite everything, the director of Out of Africa never gave up releasing the film but unfortunately could not complete its restoration before his death in 2008. Before he died, he nevertheless passed the torch to Alan Elliott, a passionate music producer.
But the documentary then experienced another concern: during her lifetime, Aretha Franklin opposed its broadcast even though she had declared to have liked it in the columns of the Detroit Free Press. After his disappearance in 2018, it was his niece and heiress, Sabrina Owens, who authorized the exit.
It was not until 2019 that the images of this exceptional concert, which the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts had attended, were able to be unveiled to the public. Superbly successful, Amazing Grace was the third best film of 2019 according to the press behind Parasite and Pain and Glory. It is now available on VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
The Respect trailer: