This is the second in a series of stories from the 2008 Telluride Film Festival that is held over the Labor Day weekend. Offerings will include "Sneak Reviews," a quick look at a film screened the previous night; "High on Telluride," highlights of some of the group discussions and celebrity appearances; and "Festival Buzzwords," focusing on what's getting the most attention — good or bad — throughout the weekend.
Film: Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love, a documentary that combines concert performances from Dublin to Paris to New York City’s Carnegie Hall, family photos, interviews, newsreel footage and picture-postcard views of Africa to paint a complex but highly entertaining and emotional portrait of one of Time’s “100 most influential people” in the world in 2007.
Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, who also is the writer and co-producer.
Running time: 102 minutes.
Star sightings: Youssou N'dour, a world-renowned singer, in the tradition of the musical storyteller in Africa called griots; Peter Gabriel, a close friend of N’dour’s since their “In Your Eyes” duet on Gabriel’s 1985 album So; Neneh Cherry, performing “7 Seconds” with N’dour at the Live 8 Concert; Bono (but blink and you’ll miss him).
Also appearing: Members of N'dour's family, including his brother, his parents, and in the film’s most touching scenes, his grandmother, who appears frail but wise beyond her years.
What’s it all about? What happens when N'dour, the pop superstar and social activist from the West African nation of Senegal, which is 94 percent Muslim, decides in 2004 to release the pan-African album Egypt, which praises prophets and saints and gives Islam a human and smiling face. Deeply spiritual and released during Ramadan (a religious no-no), “Egypt is more than a country,” says N’dour, “it’s a concept. ... a concept of coming together.”