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Under African Skies

Under African Skies (2012)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 243

My Rating

Movie Info

For the 25th anniversary of "Graceland," Paul Simon returns to South Africa for a historic reunion concert-and a look at his landmark album's turbulent birth. Interviewing anti-apartheid activists and music legends like Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney and David Byrne, Berlinger's (Crude, Paradise Lost) new doc explores both the anatomy of a musical masterwork and the responsibilities of art. -- (C) IFC Center

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

The result is doubly satisfying: We get not only a trenchant political drama but a bang-up concert film as well.

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
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The affection between the musicians and Simon is clear. The portrait that emerges time and again is personal and a reflection of the realities of apartheid.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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[It] does an excellent job of recapitulating the controversies surrounding the album's creation without bearing down too heavily on old news, while subtly taking Mr. Simon's side against his critics.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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It's a pleasant surprise that Under African Skies not only draws attention to the controversy surrounding its subject matter but digs into it a little.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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A harmonious, fair-minded, energetic and enlightening portrait of one masterpiece's moment in time.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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Powered by Paul Simon's brilliance, Under African Skies is a cultural lightning bolt that soars on its music and an unshakable belief in the transcendence of art.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

UNDER AFRICAN SKIES is much smarter and more profound than most music documentaries. It's a powerful, beautifully executed film that entertains, informs and questions.

April 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Badass Digest

It's a blissful film, this work by Berlinger and co., a sheer privilege for the viewer to spend such quality time UNDER AFRICAN SKIES.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Twitch
Twitch

This absorbing documentary takes an up-close and intimate look at the musicians' creative process, then zooms out to recall the political turmoil that this landmark album left in its wake.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Under African Skies takes what could have been a puff piece glossing over the protestations related to Graceland and teaches the controversy.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It does lightly suggest scintillating questions about the responsibility artists have in reflecting current political moments in their music.

May 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Berlinger's doc expertly captures the debate of the time and where it's at now, 25 years later.

March 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Movies.com

What's most exciting about Under African Skies is how it engages with whether artists have social and political responsibilities, and if so, what those might entail.

January 24, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

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