There are very few frills, showing a disregard for conventional talking heads exercises in filming such powerful musicians. The film platforms Franklin's performance, which took place over two nights in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts. The Queen is accompanied by the Southern California Community Choir, whizzing through songs her father taught her as a child with the kind of transcendent magic that has always been, and always will be, hers.
The story behind Amazing Grace brings even greater satisfaction to the already overwhelming performance. The now Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack originally helmed the project, but mishandled the footage – with a disjointed synchronisation between the audio and visuals, it seemed an impossible task to even think about screening it.
It was only years later, when music producer and now co-director Alan Elliot heard about the project, that the work towards saving the film began. Elliot worked with Pollack on smoothing out the mountains of technical kinks in the footage, until Pollack's death in 2008. The final product bears the teething marks of such an arduous process, but nothing can eclipse Franklin's talent.
Shaky zooms, runaway scenes and abrasive cross-cutting – it's easy to feel the haphazard flaws of an unstable crew, lucky to be in Franklin's midst and somewhat struggling to keep up.
The imperfect nature of the footage only heightens the viewing experience, as Amazing Grace beams with raw talent that transcends the limitations that time and technical drawbacks have imposed, as the woman performing fills the church, and screen, with volume that eclipses everything else. The best concert film truly has come, for us who have waited.
|What||Amazing Grace film review|
10 May 19 – 10 May 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|