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Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
USA 2008

Presented in conjunction with the landmark 'Rumble in the Jungle' boxing match between Ali and Foreman, Zaire '74 was a three-day music festival in Kinshasa organised by South African musician Hugh Masekela and American record producer Stewart Levine, and featuring performances by such famed musicians as James Brown, Bill Withers, and B.B. King, among others. Many of the American musicians performing at Zaire '74 had been emboldened by the American Civil Rights movement, and saw their journey to Africa as a unique opportunity not just to perform for a new set of enthusiastic fans, but to explore their roots as well. Consequently, SOUL POWER is not simply a concert film featuring some of the most popular African and American musicians of the era, but also a pure intimate glimpse into a time when the musical crossover between the two nations was just beginning to emerge.

***

Soul Power is a vérité documentary – compiled entirely from footage shot in 1974 – of the astonishing back-to-Africa 3-day music festival “Zaire ‘74”. It was held in Kinshasa ahead of the biggest boxing event of all time: the Muhammad Ali–George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle”. Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, editor of Leon Gast’s Oscar-winning (Best Documentary) When We Were Kings, and sourced from the same archival pool, Soul Power features a legendary line-up of African and African-diaspora musicians – all of whom are at the very peak of their creative powers.
Alongside Ali’s wit and wisdom – profoundly lyrical in its own right – vibrant street scenes of downtown Kinshasa, and “fly-on-the-wall” footage of the festival’s staging, rehearsals, and jams, the three nights of concerts (lensed by Albert Maysles and a host of other legendary cameramen) offer electrifying performances by James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Sister Sledge, Miriam Makeba, The Spinners, Big Black, The Crusaders, Celia Cruz, and many more.


The concert has achieved mythological significance as the definitive Africa(n)-American musical event of the 20th Century and only now, after years of painstaking restoration – legal wrangling prevented an edit and release at the time of filming – Soul Power joins the pantheon of concert film classics, taking its place alongside others of the late-1960s and early-1970s, including Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, Soul to Soul, and Wattstax. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Soul Power for home viewing in the UK for the very first time.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 4th, 2008 - Toronto Film Festival

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Comparison:

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray vs. Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

   

 

 

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine # 87) - Region 0 - NTSC Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine # 87) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:30  1:32:20.534 1:32:30.545
Video 1.783:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 28,971,921,180 bytes

Feature: 26,331,469,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,845,094,376 bytes

Feature: 26,758,311,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps DTS-HD Master Audio English 2205 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2205 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1576 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1576 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4029 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4029 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 3263 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3263 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English (SDH), None English (SDH), None English (SDH), English, French , Portuguese, Spanish, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Exclusive video interview with the director, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte (5:59)
• 30 minutes of deleted behind-the-scenes footage
• Extra concert performances by James Brown, Sister Sledge, the Pointer Sisters, and others
• 36-page full-colour booklet featuring archival publicity stills, a director’s statement, and a compilation of reminiscences by the “Zaire ‘74” organisers and performers

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 26

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 28,971,921,180 bytes

Feature: 26,331,469,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Exclusive video interview with the director, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte (5:59)
• 30 minutes of deleted behind-the-scenes footage
• Extra concert performances by James Brown, Sister Sledge, the Pointer Sisters, and others
• 36-page full-colour booklet featuring archival publicity stills, a director’s statement, and a compilation of reminiscences by the “Zaire ‘74” organisers and performers

Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2009
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
26

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,845,094,376 bytes

Feature: 26,758,311,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Deleted Scenes (42:11)
• Commentary with Director Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Music/Festival Producer Stewart Levine

Blu-ray Release Date: January 26th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
16

 

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Sony Pictures Classics: February 2010: Since the images on the two Blu-rays are identical, the question of superiority comes down to two fronts: audio and extras. Let's start with the former. Although the Sony disc comes with a wonderful 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that sounds crystal clear, the MoC release has that and two additional audio tracks to choose from. When you also factor in the fact that both have decent English subtitles (the Sony also has Spanish, French and Portuguese), then the edge has to go to the MoC. Next, let's look at the extras. The MoC and the Sony both have the same deleted scenes, but the Sony disc also has an excellent commentary by the director and the festival producer. On the other side, the MoC has an interview with the director and another of the invaluable booklets that they specialize in. Although both releases have their own strengths, I'd have to give the Sony release a marginal edge here because of the commentary. Overall, I don't think that you'd go wrong with buying either disc and I suspect that your choice of purchase will simply depend on which side of the Atlantic you reside.

Brian Montgomery

****

I expect I'm not going to be very objective with my comments as I just loved this documentary and have watched it 3 times now. Described as " ...a legendary concert event that achieved mythological significance as the definitive Africa – American musical event of the 20th Century" seems wholly appropriate. This film is educational and has wonderful energy - especially in the second half. The performances from the likes of James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers etc. are nothing short of iconic.

Using only original 16mm footage from 1974 (outtakes could have been taken from unused portions of When We Were Kings - where director Levy-Hinte’s was part of the editing team during the production of Leon Gast’s documentary) this DVD transfer is impressive in its own right. The grain-to-noise ratio is excellent on this dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic SD disc. But, Predictably the Blu-ray advances - with even more textured grain, more intensity and vibrancy of the colors and detail as well is an improvement - visible even in the screen captures below. This verité look is magnificent and the elements used must have been in tremendous condition. Surprisingly, I would say that this is a very beautiful looking film with such rich, honest, untainted visuals. It is a sight to behold in motion. I swear that James Brown flicked some sweat onto my coffee table.

Of a primary concern to many will be the audio. In this area the Blu-ray makes mincemeat of the DVD. Where the DVD has the Dolby 2.0 channel - the Blu-ray offers two lossless options. I was more partial to the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2205 kbps than the TrueHD Audio after extensively listening to both. The mix here really brings this film to life. It elevates the viewing experience to an almost hypnotic level. This extends beyond the explosive concert footage but also the diverse native background music of the film (some composed by Noah Warner). The separations have real subtleties of crowd noises, instruments and backup singers. Both editions have optional English (SDH) subtitles and both are region free. 

Supplements are duplicated with a 6-minute exclusive video interview with the director, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, 30 minutes of deleted behind-the-scenes footage, extra concert performances by James Brown, Sister Sledge, the Pointer Sisters, and others and another professional 36-page full-color booklet featuring archival publicity stills, a director’s statement, and a compilation of reminiscences by the “Zaire ‘74” organizers and performers.

If there is any way we can get more vintage James Brown in 1080P - I will quickly sign a petition. I don't know what more I can say - this package, preferably in hi-def (a humungous improvement dependant on your system) and is enthusiastically recommended by this reviewer! Wow.

Gary W. Tooze

 


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1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

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3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region 0 - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

 

 

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine # 87) - Region 0 - NTSC Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine # 87) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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