Oct-Dec 2010 Screenings
Amandla ! A revolution in 4 part harmony
2004 - Lee Hirsch - 99 - U.S.A /South Africa
Fri 10 Sep 2004 at 8.30pm
Astor Cinema, Scariff
Midnight Court Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)
Storyline: Amandla! takes its title from the Xhosa word for power, which became the rallying cry of black South Africans in their long struggle for liberation from white domination. The subject of New Yorker Lee Hirsch’s moving documentary is the way that music became as powerful a weapon in that struggle as guns. His film’s subtitle is taken from a wry observation from pianist-composer Abdullah Ibrahim: 'ours is the only revolution anywhere in the world that was conducted in four part harmony.' Songs of defiance, mourning and pride accompany every chapter in this often brutal, ultimately triumphant saga that stretches from 1948, when the right-wing National Party came to power with its infamous policy of racial separation, to 1994 when Nelson Mandela and the ANC swept to victory in the country’s first democratic elections. Music was not just used as communal balm. It became a call to action, taken seriously as part of a strategy: for remembering the dead, for subversive messages, for confrontation, for instilling fear. Hirsch and his researchers provide a stirring account of courage and spirit in the face of hardship and injustice. There’s an understanding of how the music changed over time in response to altered circumstances. When activist and composer Vuyisile Mini, hanged in 1964 and buried in a pauper’s grave, gave voice and hope to a powerless people his anthem Beware Verwoerd used a cheerfully infectious melody with Xhosa lyrics to warn the architect of apartheid that his day of reckoning was coming. The native language was one that few white people understood. In the 1980s, young people at mass demonstrations were doing the toyi-toyi, a high-energy, stomping dance accompanied by chanting that seethed with a newly insistent revolutionary bravado, which terrified the country’s heavily armed police. Beautifully assembled, the material flows organically, building to its resonant, joyful conclusion.
Lee Hirsch (born Long Island, 1973) first got involved with anti-apartheid politics while still a student at high school. He was twenty when he set out for South Africa with the quixotic vision that gave birth to Amandla!. He lived in Johannesburg for five of the nine years it took to complete his heartfelt project, making music videos to support himself. Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony was premiered in competition at Sundance in 2002, where it won the Documentary Audience Award and the Grand Jury Freedom of Expression
Music lovers heaven
Verdicts from the Midnight Court
An inspirational film!
Tue 21 Sep 2004
I truly loved the movie because it gave me great insight on the reasons why we as a black race of people always sing when we have to press through hardship, truggle, and pain. It is great to see people like me express the beauty within our soul even when opressed. It was filled with so much information about our ancestors. So many things I did not know. My inner man was renewed even though I felt so much pain while watching the movie. Please if there are any other movies, CD's, or DVD's available with more relevant information please send me the information to the e-mail address given. I would truly love to purchase all of the songs I heard in the video. Thank you for a treasure that money can not buy. I now own a piece of history and a touch of my ancestors.
Mrs. Akiko Clay
Sun 20 Feb 2005