Finding the Funk

(USA, 2013, 78 mins)
CAST James Brown, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, Sheila E, Mike D, Ahmir Questlove Thompson


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Funk is disciplined, funk is freaky—it’s huge Afros and colours … and always fun!”

Filmmaker-historian Nelson George conducts a passionate archeology of funk music—the crucial bridge between ’60s soul and ’80s hip hop—replete with loving testimonials about Dayton, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, in their funk heydays, where in the basements of now-mythical music makers like Sly Stone and P-Funk, the funk explosion was catalyzed. With The Roots member Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson as our guide, and warm regaling from notable musicians such as Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Sheila E. and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, we’re transported to the hippie-ish ’70s when a mad fever of savvy creativity saw the transmutation of jazz, soul and R&B into infectiously danceable funk. Unspooling the movement’s psychedelic-influenced ethos with flair, George carves out a nostalgic portrait of funk music as an enduring artistic assertion of the black experience in the USA. (Justin Mah)

"Not to spoil the ending, but director Nelson George absolutely does find the funk. 3 stars." Brad Wheeler, Globe & Mail

"A lesson every music fan should have." William Brownridge, Toronto Film Scene