×

Enzo Avitabile Music Life

Few labels are as meaninglessly reductive as "world music," yet there isn't another term to describe the range of Italo musician Enzo Avitabile's inspirations, captured in Jonathan Demme's "Enzo Avitabile Music Life."

With:
With: Enzo Avitabile, Eliades Ochoa, Naseer Shamma, Gerardo Nunez, Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala, Trilok Gurtu, Luigi Lai, Zi' Giannino Del Sorbo, Amal Murkus, Djivan Gasparyan Trio, Hossein Alizadeh, Daby Toure, Bruno Canino, Ciro Piazza. (Italian dialogue, Neapolitan dialect)

Few labels are as meaninglessly reductive as “world music,” yet there isn’t another term to describe the range of Italo musician Enzo Avitabile’s inspirations, captured in Jonathan Demme’s “Enzo Avitabile Music Life.” Unlike the helmer’s docus featuring mega-star tunesmiths, his latest takes a gamble with a performer of devoted but limited international recognition; perhaps that’s why Demme keeps things modest, though it doesn’t explain the sense of a film put together in a hurry. Involving rhythms, great jam sessions and, most of all, Demme’s name will spark moderate interest among music docu fans.

A musical omnivore, Avitabile began his career in the early 1980s riffing on American funk and jazz. By the ’90s, he returned to his Neapolitan roots, which he alternated with influences as wide-ranging as Pergolesi oratorios, African beats and Arabic maqams.

The heart of “Music Life” lies in jam sessions with international collaborators, their intertwining melodies often layered with Avitabile’s lyrics championing social justice. Unlike Demme’s concert pics, this aims more for the process, yet brief scenes “in the old neighborhood” play out like cliches, and only Avitabile’s restlessness really lingers. Lensing feels spontaneous and equally curious.

Enzo Avitabile Music Life

Italy

Production: A Dazzle Communication, in collaboration with RAI Cinema presentation of a Dazzle Communication, R2R Productions production, in collaboration with RAI Cinema, Banco di Napoli. (International sales: RAI Trade, Rome.) Produced by Davide Azzolini, Jonathan Demme. Co-producer, Antonio Monda. Executive producers, Angelo Russo Russelli, Shane Bissett. Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Crew: Camera (HD), Enzo Pascolo; editor, Giogio Franchini; music, Enzo Avitabile; music supervision, Andrea Aragosa; production designer, Carmine Guarino; sound, Max Carola, Davide Mastropaolo. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Aug. 28, 2012. Running time: 79 MIN.

With: With: Enzo Avitabile, Eliades Ochoa, Naseer Shamma, Gerardo Nunez, Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala, Trilok Gurtu, Luigi Lai, Zi' Giannino Del Sorbo, Amal Murkus, Djivan Gasparyan Trio, Hossein Alizadeh, Daby Toure, Bruno Canino, Ciro Piazza. (Italian dialogue, Neapolitan dialect)

More Film

  • Saweetie62nd Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los

    When 'Birds of Prey' Came Calling, 'I Passed Out,' Says Saweetie

    “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” the R-rated girl gang-driven comic book actioner starring Margot Robbie and directed by Cathy Yan, bows in theaters Feb. 7 — the same date its equally female-driven soundtrack drops. And the latter even has its own trailer.  The film’s playlist includes tracks by Megan [...]

  • The Evening Hour

    'The Evening Hour': Film Review

    A small town already down on its luck receives a few fresh kicks in “The Evening Hour.” Based on Carter Sickels’ 2012 novel, this second narrative feature from director Braden King is more plot-driven than his first, 2011’s “Here,” a leisurely and slight, if pleasant, road-trip romance. Indeed, there may be a little more content [...]

  • Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah,

    'Farewell Amor': Film Review

    There are small, telling differences in the way each of the three long-separated main characters in “Farewell Amor” remembers the day of their reunion. Standing at JFK, awkwardly clutching a bunch of flowers to give to the wife and child he has not seen in 17 years, Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine from “The Chi”), [...]

  • 'The Father': Anthony Hopkins Gives a

    'The Father': Film Review

    There have been some good dramas about people sliding into dementia, like “Away From Her” and “Still Alice,” but I confess I almost always have a problem with them. As the person at the center of the movie begins to recede from her adult children, from the larger world, and from herself, he or she [...]

  • The Last Thing He Wanted Sundance

    Anne Hathaway, Rosie Perez on Bringing Joan Didion to the Big Screen

    After “Pariah” and “Mudbound,” director Dee Rees returns to the Sundance Film Festival with her next feature, “The Last Thing He Wanted,” a political thriller based on a 1996 Joan Didion novel. The adapted screenplay follows a reporter named Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway) and her photojournalist friend (Rosie Perez) as they chase a complicated story [...]

  • Ana Gasteyer to Host WGA Awards

    Film News Roundup: Ana Gasteyer to Host WGA Awards

    In today’s film news roundup, the PGA selects a site for its Produced By Conference, Ana Gasteyer is hosting the WGA Awards, and Docu-Day is set for Feb. 8. PGA CONFERENCE The Producers Guild of America will hold its 12th annual Produced By Conference on June 6-7 at Fox Studio Lot in Los Angeles. The [...]

  • 'Welcome to Chechnya' Review: LGBT Survivors

    'Welcome to Chechnya': Film Review

    You can do anything with a face on screen these days, whether it’s shaving decades off with a digital scalpel or deepfaking it into unrecognizable oblivion. Usually this wizardry has the air of a stunt, a transformation pulled off merely because it’s possible. Never, however, have such effects proven as chillingly essential as they are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content