Amazing GraceAlan Elliott, Sydney Pollack, 87 min, USA.
On the heels of three albums yielding hit singles, the legendary singer Aretha Franklin turns to her spiritual upbringing, electing to create her next compilation with gospel music. Resurrected footage from 1972 captures Franklin’s electrifying performance with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir for the live, hair-raising recording of the late singer’s Amazing Grace, one of the best-selling gospel records of all time. The footage transcends the decades that have passed since its filming, transporting the viewer into the pews of the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, where Franklin performed over two mesmerizing evenings. Franklin’s fervent voice soars and fills the room, imbuing the crowd with an energy to match her own. She is undoubtedly a seminal figure in music, and Franklin’s essence and skill are preserved here in measured and patient takes, encapsulating a phenomenal artist for all to experience.