Tribeca, Hot Docs, Sheffield, Biografilm, Edinburgh, Jerusalem, Seattle, Midnight Sun, Vancouver, Athens, Milan
A portrait of the celebrated South African musician and human rights activist.
Miriam Makeba emerged in the late 1950s as a singer with international crossover appeal, mentored by Harry Belafonte. She used her success as a platform to speak out against apartheid, forcing her into exile from South Africa for three decades. When she became involved with the American civil rights movement, marrying one of its high-profile leaders, Stokely Carmichael, US support waned for a time, but her career continued internationally and found a resurgence after the end of apartheid. Kaurismäki’s doc, which debuted a few years after Makeba’s death in 2008, is a conventional profile that feels too truncated to fully pay the icon her due, but is a respectable primer to encourage viewers to seek out more on their own.