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Call + Response (2008)

October 22, 2009


Music and causes. For me, they are two concepts that really don’t mix. Whether it’s Live 8 or Dark Was The Night, I keep thinking the whole idea of someone playing/recording a song to raise awareness is something that needs to be treaded with care. I mean, what good can music do? It’s action really that’s needed, I could never see how strumming a guitar can get that happening.

Call + Response is a rockumentary coming from the brain of Justin Dillon, a singer songwriter from the US, who decided to make a film looking at the shocking truths of the people trafficking and the usage of them for prostitution, child warfare and slave agriculture. Interspersed with interviews with educated people on the matter like Madeline Albright, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and Ashley Judd, are music performances from artists which actually aren’t mainly my thing (think Five For Fighting, Switchfoot and Natasha Bedingfield). It has some captivating performances amongst them though, especially Emmanuel Jah (a war child himself) & Imogen Heap songs. As described above – the only downside being, particularly in this type of film, that it was a little hard to discern what these performances had to do with the premise of the film at all sometimes. You could tell the intent is there though and these musicians are very passionate about the issue.

Despite this, the film is a passionate documentation of a trade that is quite abhorrent, and opened my eyes to a problem which I thought wasn’t so huge. One particular part of the film which got me sitting up saw academic Cornel West (deliver an eager monologue on the aspect of funk and how it is related to the dirty and dank parts of humanity. Call & Response remarkably informative a from someone who definitely is trying to get his art (and other people’s art) interconnected with the eradication of slavery which, to me shocked me that it still exists in today’s world.

The movie is out in Australia right now. Check out the website for more deets.

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