Archives / 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Under African Skies

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Director: Joe Berlinger

Institute History

Description

Paul Simon’s historic Graceland album sold millions of copies and united cultures, yet divided world opinion on the boundaries of art, politics, and commerce. On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Graceland's release, Simon returns to South Africa for a reunion concert that unearths the turbulent birth of the album. Despite its huge success as a popular fusion of American and African musical styles, Graceland spawned intense political crossfire. Simon was accused of breaking the United Nations’ cultural boycott of South Africa, which was designed to end apartheid.

Renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger brilliantly intertwines both sides of a complex story as Simon revisits old ghosts and gains insights on his own musical journey. With the compelling perceptions of antiapartheid activists and music legends such as Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, and David Byrne, Under African Skies is both a buoyant chronicle of unparalleled artistic achievement and a profound rumination on the role of the artist in society.

— D.C.

Screening Details

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