Sixto Rodriguez and Ginger Baker, the musical stars featured in these films: one a hero in so many ways, the other -- the titular Mr. Baker -- well, you'll have to see it to believe it. Ginger (shown at right) is pretty much every negative cliché you've heard concerning nasty, thoughtless, drug-addled rock musicians rolled into one. Except that he possesses, as the movie makes clear, incredible, innate talent as one of the greatest jazz & rock drummers who has ever lived. Couple this to his character, and you have one crazy, crass, complicated guy -- whom writer/director Jay Bulger (shown below) has captured with surprising finesse for a first-time filmmaker.
Rolling Stone magazine who then conned an interview with the drummer, charmed him into telling, if not all, then quite a bit, and went on to actually have his article published by Rolling Stone. In addition to those cojones, Bulger has looks, charm and most important, talent. He captures Ginger as fully as one would think possible within the movie's 92-minute time frame.
Phil Seamen, to Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts and a certain Mr. Rotten (above). Each has his specific "take" on the man or on music, and the real beauty of this movie is how Bulger has assembled all this to create a full and indelible character.
Fela. Concerning the latter, as usual, when the going gets tough, Baker quickly hightails it out of danger. Another point that Bulger's movie makes, perhaps unintentionally, concerns the relationship between art and destruction. We more often, I think, join art with creation, but Mr. Baker generally has it otherwise.
SnagFilms, opens on Wednesday, November 28, for a two-week run at New York's Film Forum.
November 28, at the 8:20 screening!
And Ginger? Don't think we'll be seeing him. After all,
we don't want fist fights and broken furniture to harm
New York's favorite repertory cinema....