Scintillating music docu about African guitar great Boubacar Traore obviously appealed to tune-minded Jonathan Demme, since he's taken presentation credit on "I'll Sing for You." Exposure should help helmer Jacques Sarasin get vid-lensed pic transferred to film, and into larger markets than the usual tube-music outlets.

Scintillating music docu about African guitar great Boubacar Traore obviously appealed to tune-minded Jonathan Demme, since he’s taken presentation credit on “I’ll Sing for You.” Exposure should help helmer Jacques Sarasin get vid-lensed pic transferred to film, and into larger markets than the usual tube-music outlets.

World-music fans know Traore, alongside fellow Malian string picker Ali Farka Toure, as a folksy practitioner of a latter-day blues style mixing tribal, American, and Islamic influences. But in the early 1960s, just as Mali broke away from French colonizers, he was called KarKar, and was famous in West Africa for his leather jackets and Elvis-influenced rock ‘n’ roll. Through sepia-toned stills, historical footage, and many talking (and singing) heads, Sarasin parallels this musical evolution — which included a long period of exile — with the politics of the region. Educational value aside, pic is exciting for its extended performance sequences, with the most notable finding Traore and Farke strolling with guitars through the acoustically amazing atrium of an abandoned mud schoolhouse. Digital images are sometimes fuzzy, but the sound is always crystal clear.

I'll Sing for You

France

Production

A Jonathan Demme presentation of a Les Productions Faire Bleu production, in association with Tigre Prods., ORTM, CNPC. (International sales: Les Productions Faire Bleu, Paris.) Produced, directed, written by Jacques Sarasin.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Stephan Oriach; editor, Bernard Josse; music, Boubacar Traore, Ali Farke Toure, Ballake Sissoko, others. Reviewed on videocassette, Vancouver, Sept. 28, 2001. (In Vancouver Film Festival, Margaret Meade Film Festival, New York.) Running time: 76 MIN.

With

(French and Bambar dialogue.)
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