Milford Graves Full Mantis (2018)


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MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity. Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form. The film draws the viewer through the artist's lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement - all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens. Graves tells stories of discovery, struggle and survival, ruminates on the essence of 'swing,' activates electronic stethoscopes in his basement lab to process the sound of his heart, and travels to Japan where he performs at a school for children with autism, igniting the student body into an ecstatic display of spontaneous collective energy. Oscillating from present to past and weaving intimate glimpses of the artist's complex cosmology with blistering performances from around the globe, MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is cinema full of fluidity, polyrhythm and intensity, embodying the essence of Graves' music itself.


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Critic Reviews for Milford Graves Full Mantis

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6)

Despite its singular star and bursts of audio-visual vibrancy, the film may prove more ponderous and patience-testing than enlightening or involving for all but the most intrepid viewers.

Jul 26, 2018 | Full Review…

A fragmentary portrait of Graves that embraces his holistic philosophy but gives his music short shrift.

Jul 16, 2018 | Full Review…

Milford Graves Full Mantis is a jazz movie in every sense of the word.

Jul 12, 2018 | Full Review…

You can get a lot of facts about Mr. Graves and his discography on the internet (and I recommend you do). This movie gives you, well, the man's heart, and it's a beautiful one.

Jul 12, 2018 | Full Review…

A small treasure for avant-garde fans.

Jul 11, 2018 | Full Review…

A movie about Graves' life and work that's similar to his percussive style: unpredictable, out-of-sync yet somehow rhythmically right on, jagged and likely to zig when you think it's going to zag.

Jul 11, 2018 | Full Review…

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