Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love (2009)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: It never gets close enough to its subject, and it's curiously light on music, but this documentary is nonetheless a long-overdue tribute to a brilliant musician.

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Movie Info

As one of two major documentaries on hotly debated Senegalese world musician Youssou N'Dour to emerge within a year of one another (see also Youssou N'Dour: Return to Gorà (C)e), this particular chronicle was produced and shot over a period of several years. Helmed by director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, it witnesses the evolution and production of N'Dour's June 2004 album Egypt, on the Nonesuch label -- the recording that details N'Dour fully expressing his newfound Muslim faith. A veritable bedrock of controversy, the album courted objections from multiple countries: Americans objected because of their post-9/11 tendencies to attribute Islam to violent extremism; Senegalese DJs and radio-station proprietors objected given the odd discomfiture associated with playing religious music about Allah alongside often-racy selections by other acts. Even more significantly, N'Dour inadvertently carried this controversy a step further by performing live during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- thus infuriating Senegalese religious conservatives. The film witnesses N'Dour confronting these challenges head-on and, incredibly, surmounting them with great ease and finesse. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (13)

By far the most powerful element is N'Dour's lone voice, a thing of high, pure beauty that feels at once ancient and new. When he sings, an otherwise earnestly conventional film becomes a vehicle of incantatory power.

October 16, 2009 | Full Review…

This documentary by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi could have used more music for my taste, and fewer talking heads. But it's absorbing all the same. N'Dour is the sort of humanitarian bridge that we need in a world so sharply divided.

August 27, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Be sure to stay through the closing credits as the scenes of Senegalese life act as a captivating coda to a film pulsing with music and memory.

August 21, 2009 | Rating: 4/5

Youssou N'Dour is a beautiful film to watch as it unfolds the life of N'Dour and, by extension, the lives of millions of West Africans who are anonymous to many in the West.

July 31, 2009 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

N'Dour is the film's unstoppable force, handsome and radiating joy. He's the kind of performer who is larger than life but always seems like one of the family.

July 16, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Although his movie often resembles the kind of promotional video one might find as an extra on a concert DVD, N'Dour in full throttle is a sight, and sound, to behold.

July 3, 2009 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

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