Amazing Grace

Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace
Sydney Pollack, Alan Elliott
USA 1972, 2019
89 min

Im Jahr 1972 nahm Aretha Franklin live in einer Kirche in L.A. ihre bis heute bestverkaufte Schallplatte auf. Mit dem Doppelalbum „Amazing Grace“ kehrte die als Tochter eines Predigers aufgewachsene Queen of Soul zu den Klängen ihrer Kindheit zurück: Gospelmusik. Gefilmt hatte die beiden Sessions vor Publikum seinerzeit Sydney Pollack, der bei den Dreharbeiten allerdings vergaß, Film- und Tonmaterial zu synchronisieren. Das Material landete schließlich beim Produzenten Alan Elliott, dem dies mit erheblicher Fummelarbeit doch noch gelang. Das Ergebnis ist ein intimer Konzertfilm mit einem hingerissenen Publikum und einer unverwechselbar kraftvollen Sängerin – letztlich mehr Aretha als Jesus. (Lars Penning)


A rare document of a certain period, AMAZING GRACE reveals a specific atmosphere that shifts between the spiritual and the unspoken political moods of those days. Sydney Pollack obviously understands what he was witnessing, as a white filmmaker at a gathering of black brothers and sisters. In 1972, after several successful records, the late Aretha Franklin wanted to do something different. So she returned to the music she grew up with. She brought her band to the Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles to produce “Amazing Grace” – the best-selling soul album released to date. Pollack was asked to cover the event by Warner Bros., but the material was never released. Today, after Franklins death, it seems like the right time. Pollack keeps the presence of the camera to the necessary, not trying to add anything sensational to the dense atmosphere. Franklin, an outspoken voice of Black America all her life, raises her voice and the audience is part of it. Although Franklin had been honored with five Grammys and was a superstar at the time, she is transcendent in this two-day-session, becoming something magical, bigger than the individual. “I want to walk the streets of gold, in the homeland of the soul”, she sings. (Gunnar Landsgesell)

  • Aretha Franklin
  • the Reverend James Cleveland
  • C.F. Franklin
  • the Southern California Community Choir
  • Jeff Buchanan
  • Aretha Franklin
40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks, Al’s Records And Tapes, Rampant, Sundial Pictures, Time, Warner Bros

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