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All Critics (7)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (0)
Music documentaries are thick on the land, and political ones are numerous as well, but "Mali Blues" is different in that it artfully combines hypnotic music with definite societal concerns.
Mali Blues should appeal both to world music fans and anyone interested in the increasing tensions between secular and religious forces in Africa.
Despite the urgency of the situation the musicians face, when they're not doing their work, the movie is quiet, observant, taking in the austere beauty of the land and the people.
First-time feature director Gregor never imposes a narrative arc on his subjects; instead, we meet them, hear their hopes and their fears, and then savor performances of singular beauty, power, and invention.
You might remember her minor but memorable performance in the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu (2014), but in Lutz Gregor's Mali Blues singer Fatoumata Diawara's electrifying pizzazz rightfully earns her the spotlight.
This laggardly paced documentary may make you feel heat-dazed, but the stories will touch you deeply.
For the willing, it affords some delicate pleasure.
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