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Posted by on 8.5.2014

gives up the stage (and the screen) to
August 29 – September 1

Highlights include Black Caesar, The Blues Brothers, Soul Power, When We Were Kings, and a very rare screening
of The T.A.M.I. Show

New York, NY (July 24, 2014) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today James Brown: The Hardest Working Man in Show Business (August 29 – September 1). The film series will feature, highlight, and celebrate the musical and visual force of nature that James Brown was via both signature moments on film and in musical performances that have rarely been seen on the big screen—or at all.

“It feels quite appropriate to dedicate our Cinematheque programming over Labor Day weekend to a performer such as James Brown, who, in addition to being arguably the 20th century’s most enduringly relevant musician, always placed the notion of ‘work’ at the heart of his artistry,” said FSLC Programing Coordinator Dan Sullivan, who programmed the series. “The films in which he appeared, the films he scored, and the films that documented his athletic and impassioned on-stage performances cohere to yield a transfixing portrait of an artist who was both unapologetically political and incomparably funky. Baby baby baby, baby baby baby…”

James Brown: The Hardest Working Man in Show Business will include Larry Cohen’s Blaxploitation classic Black Caesar (1973), featuring Brown’s furious theme song; Brown’s dynamic opening performance of “Living in America” which set the tone for Sylvester Stallone’s over-the-top USA rah-rah spectacle Rocky IV (1985); his “preaching to the choir” and leading it in John Landis’s sprawling comedy epic The Blues Brothers (1980); his scratch-heavy, bongo-driven funk set from Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s documentary Soul Power (2008) about the Zaire ’74 music festival; and what is arguably, the series’ crowning jewel—Brown’s singular and endurance-defying performance (18 minutes long) where he shows fellow guests Chuck Berry, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Beach Boys, and notably Mick Jagger with The Rolling Stones how it’s done on The T.A.M.I. Show (1964).

Tickets will go on sale Thursday, August 7. Special discount for Labor Day Weekend!  Single screening tickets only $10; $7 for Students, Seniors (62+) and Film Society Members. Visit www.FilmLinc.com for additional information.

Press Screening Schedule

Screening Venue:
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam

All attendees must RSVP in advance to John Wildman at jwildman@filmlinc.com.

Tuesday, 7/29

11:00AM Black Caesar (87m)

12:45PM  Ski Party (90m)

2:30PM  Soul Power (92m)


Black Caesar
Larry Cohen, USA, 1973, 35mm, 87m

“I was born in New York City on a Monday…” This furious, low-budget crime picture dates from the golden age of Blaxploitation, when the genre was mining Hollywood’s past for stock narratives that could be given new and politically radical resonances. Black Caesar reworks the Hollywood gangster film, but the story—a poor black shoeshine boy takes out a corrupt mob boss, only to accept the white man’s power structures when he himself gains control—strikes a closer and more sensitive nerve. By the time Brown recorded the movie’s soundtrack, including the classic “Down and Out in New York City,” his music was evolving into an early and hugely influential form of funk, and its jumpy, aggressive rhythms meld seamlessly with the film’s claustrophobic urban setting.
August 29, 8:30pm
August 30, 6:30pm

The Blues Brothers
John Landis, USA, 1980, 35mm, 133m

The Blues Brothers—Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, at the height of their comedic and dramatic powers—were a pair of SNL characters before they were a band, and a band before they were a pair of film heroes. (Their first album was released in 1978.) But their big-screen debut, a trigger-happy action odyssey in which the two brothers, one fresh out of jail, flee Nazis, cops, and country singers in an attempt to put on one great show, remains their crowning achievement, partly thanks to its scene-stealing musical cameos: Aretha Franklin as the singing proprietress of a soul-food restaurant; Ray Charles as a music-store owner; and Brown—whom the movie’s success temporarily helped lift out of a professional slump—as the roof-raising leader of a gospel choir.
August 30, 8:30pm
September 1, 3:30pm

James Brown Performance Compilation
Digital projection, approx. 75m

A truly one-of-a-kind assortment of clips of the Godfather of Soul, on stage and in his element. Spanning multiple periods of his career and featuring invaluable footage of Brown on The Ed Sullivan Show and Soul Street, this selection finds Mr. Dynamite workin’ it as only he could. Archival footage courtesy of Historic Films Archives and Joe Lauro.
August 31, 4:30pm & 9:00pm

Rocky IV
Sylvester Stallone, USA, 1985, 35mm, 91m

The Cold War was nearing the end of its Reagan-era upsurge in 1985, when Sylvester Stallone made this theatrical, circus-like, and unabashedly entertaining vision of U.S.-Soviet relations at their most cartoonishly divided. The plot of Rocky IV centers on the Italian Stallion’s revenge match against the impassive Russian “mountain of muscle” Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren, in his breakout role) after the latter kills his friend and rival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in the ring. But the highlight is Creed’s entrance near the start of the film, with James Brown standing in the flesh at the front of the ring as the fight’s master of ceremonies.
September 1, 1:15pm & 6:00pm

Ski Party
Alan Rafkin, USA, 1965, 35mm, 90m

“Are you really the ski patrol?” Brown, flanked by the Famous Flames, literally skis into this prime slice of ’60s youth-movie cheese and, yanking off his winter coat, makes a cabin of sweatered, smiling teenagers feel good. Ski Party, in which certified heartthrob Frankie Avalon and his right-hand man Dwayne Hickman disguise themselves as young women to get special access to their sweethearts’ social lives, was an alpine extension of the then-booming beach-party genre (famed for its heavy use of musical cameos). Brown’s performance, backed by an invisible organ and horn section, is the movie’s highlight, and another milestone besides: filming the scene, Brown later confessed, was the only time that he had gone in for a split and torn the seat of his pants.
August 29, 4:30pm
August 30, 4:30pm

Soul Power
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, USA, 2008, 35mm, 92m

Zaire ’74—a three-day music festival for which dozens of top-flight performers, some African, others American, convened in Kinshasa a month before Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s “Rumble in the Jungle”—took place during a period of intense political and artistic ferment in American music. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s document of the festival, assembled more than 30 years after the fact (from footage shot by, among others, Albert Maysles and Roderick Young) and bookended by a pair of searing performances by Brown, captures the event in all its tension, ecstasy, sweat, and uncertainty: Ali trades mock-punches with the lead singer of The Spinners, Bill Withers brings down the roof with a devastating rendition of “Hope She’ll Be Happier,” and revolution is in the air throughout. Soul Power is a revealing portrait of an era as manifested by some of its most dynamic and politically engaged performers.
August 29, 6:30pm
August 30, 2:30pm

The T.A.M.I. Show
Steve Binder, USA, 1964, 16mm, 123m

The Holy Grail of concert films—with an eye-popping lineup including Chuck Berry, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones—went unseen outside the bootleg circuit for decades due to rights disputes. Seen in its full glory, it’s a showcase for American pop music at the undisputed height of its passion, humor, pathos, virtuosity, and vigor. Lesley Gore’s voice was never more commanding, and Mick Jagger shakes a mean maraca, but the undisputed highpoint is Brown’s four-song set: a sustained, expertly modulated outpouring of passion performed—fittingly, for an artist who began his career as a gospel singer—with the sweaty, bone-straining urgency of a man who feels his soul is on the line.
August 31, 2:00pm & 6:30pm

When We Were Kings
Leon Gast, USA, 1996, 35mm, 88m

Leon Gast’s now-classic documentary on the “Rumble in the Jungle”—Muhammad Ali’s triumphant Kinshasa fight against heavyweight champion George Foreman—took more than two decades to finish. By the time of completion, it had become a reflection on the responsibilities and demands of fame, a snapshot of a moment when black Americans were starting, partly thanks to Ali’s example, to embrace their African heritage en masse, and a hymn to Ali’s mesmerizing, canny presence outside the ring. With commentary by Spike Lee and Norman Mailer and appearances by B.B. King, The Seekers, and Brown—seen here greeting Ali at the airport, hanging out with Don King, and, in one scene, turning to the camera and making a passionate appeal for black empowerment.
September 1, 8:00pm

Public Screening Schedule

Screening Venue:

The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam

Friday, August 29

4:30PM Ski Party (90m)

6:30PM Soul Power (92m)

8:30PM Black Caesar (87m)

Saturday, August 30

2:30PM Soul Power (92m)

4:30PM Ski Party (90m)

6:30PM Black Caesar (87m)

8:30PM The Blues Brothers (133m)

Sunday, August 31

2:00PM The T.A.M.I Show (123m)

4:30PM James Brown Performance Compilation (75m)

6:30PM The T.A.M.I Show (123m)

9:00PM James Brown Performance Compilation (75m)

Monday, September 1

1:15PM Rocky IV (91m)

3:30PM The Blues Brothers (133m)

6:00PM Rocky IV (91m)

8:00PM When We Were Kings (88m)

Film Society of Lincoln Center

Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of the moving image. Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year's most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Latinbeat, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-Vous With French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment magazine, Film Society recognizes an artist's unique achievement in film with the prestigious "Chaplin Award." The Film Society's state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year-round programs and the New York City film community.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, Jaeger-LeCoultre, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stonehenge Partners, Stella Artois, illy café, the Kobal Collection, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

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