Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews

Film Clips



Director:Mel Stuart
Cast:Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Richard Pryor
Genre:Film, Concert

By Heather Joslyn | Posted 1/30/2008

Wattstax is a hidden treasure among the concert films of the rock and soul era. It's a documentary of an August 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum meant to commemorate the 1965 Watts riots; the concert drew an overwhelmingly African-American crowd of 100,000 and turned into a memorable black-pride event. Director Mel Stuart not only focuses on the big names on the Coliseum's stage but also takes his camera out into the community, watching and listening to Watts residents talk about everyday life in the inner city. (Look for Ted Lange, later Love Boat's Isaac the bartender!) The film's highlights include R&B legend Rufus Thomas wittily corralling the crowd after it abandons the bleachers to dance to his "Do the Funky Chicken"; the Bar-Kays encapsulating everything that was screamingly excessive about '70s funk with "Son of Shaft"; and Richard Pryor playing Greek chorus-and reminding us how beautiful he was.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter