Charles Bradley: Soul of America
About IDFA
Charles Bradley: Soul of America
IDFA 2012

Charles Bradley: Soul of America

Poull Brien
United States
74 min
Festival history
Director Poull Brien must have rubbed his hands with glee: while he was shooting his documentary, Charles Bradley was just another James Brown impersonator working towards his debut album. But during the film's post-production, Bradley's was so successful that chose it as one of the best 50 albums of 2011. It is to Brien's credit that he focuses not on that success, but on the road to it. The documentary starts with Bradley onstage on his 62nd birthday. The wig, the music, the dance moves, the clothes: he's all James Brown. But these layers are peeled off one by one for the album, and Bradley can at last appear onstage as himself, for the first time in his life. Footage from rehearsals and concerts is intercut with scenes from Bradley's day-to-day life. Always broke, sometimes homeless, yet eternally optimistic, he's always dreaming of a singing career. He doesn't complain about his tough life but rather enjoys it to the fullest. In the end, he becomes successful as himself - even if his infectiously joyful dances do still echo James Brown's moves.
Screening copy
    Sum of Us, LLC
    Sum of Us, LLC
World Sales
    Ro*co Films International
    Ro*co Films International