Movie Diary 2/17/2021

Sing Your Song (Susanne Rostock, 2011). I happen to be working on a project that includes Harry Belafonte as a subject, so thought I would catch this documentary profile, which puts the emphasis on Belafonte’s staggering activist work. (Fascinating to think of how much of his acting/singing/producing career he never made because he was so busy with politics – and there’s even more in his memoir, which is a fine read.) The film is strong and swift-moving, and its subject is so charismatic you could almost forgive the onslaught of vintage clips that are shown in the wrong aspect ratio – I hope this is just a fault of the DVD and not the original film. Some of Belafonte’s more outrageous public statements, especially during the Bush era, are carefully left out. Anyway, I watched this movie on the same day Rush Limbaugh died, and if there’s a more dramatic way of contrasting how talent could be channeled toward effecting positive change in the human population vs. how talent could be used to degrade, cheapen, and make the human population dumber, I can’t think of it offhand.

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