Film of the Week: Charles Bradley: Soul Of America
As part of the Munich Filmfest, I went to see an American film making its European debut. The film was Charles Bradley: Soul Of America. I had no idea what to expect. I’d never heard of the film, or the man it was about before, but the director was there. Interesting.
It was a nice cinema, no fold down seats, no, these were real. And then it began. Charles Bradley, Black Velvet, a 62 year old James Brown impersonator trying to make ends meet in the back ends of New York, a scrappy apartment block in the Projects. Signs adorn the walls, not so much asking people not to as saying it is a shame to poo in the elevator, as if talking to small children. It looks like hell. But this one man, he’s a walking saint. He doesn’t mind. He loves everyone. He loves absolutely everyone and everything that is. He’s got stories in every crease of his clothes, in every wrinkle of his face; each infectious laugh brings a new chapter of his life to the fore. He looks after his mother, cooks for her daily, bathes her, takes her shopping, helps her to stay alive and yet maintains this incredible hope. And essentially, that is it. The whole story: following one man into a new world of freedom, musical genius and a breathtaking voice. It’s possibly just the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see. The pure faith in humanity, in other people, in God and in life itself is amazing. I sat down to watch a film; I didn’t know it would change me.
‘Charles Bradley: Soul of America’ follows the rise of Charles Bradley. Directed by Poull Brian, and a release date for the UK is not yet known, but we will do our best to keep you posted. In the meantime, Charles Bradley is on a tour of the USA and Europe until December with His Extrodinaires and his debut album ‘No Time For Dreaming’ was released last year on Daptone Records.