AMANDLA! a revolution in four part harmony


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Lee Hirsch, Sherry Simpson, Desiree Markgraaff, Clive Sackie, Ivan Leathers, Johanna Demetrakas, Gary Rydstrom, Stuart Deutsch


AMANDLA! a revolution in four part harmony is a magnificently engaging film, highlighting the extraordinary role of freedom songs in the very long struggle against apartheid in South Africa. AMANDLA! allows South Africans' stories to be told through the voices of the people themselves.

Through a chronological history of the liberation struggle, the film cites examples of the way the music was used in the fight for freedom. Songs united those who were being oppressed and gave those fighting a way to express their plight. The music consoled those incarcerated, and created an effective underground form of communication inside the prisons.

The film is superb mix of interviews with previously exiled activists and musicians, combined with archival footage of organized protests. The film's fabric is interlaces with numerous songs, some from those who participated in the fight for independence and others from concerts in postapartheid South Africa. Under apartheid, singing, possession, or recording of this music was banned by the government. Now many of these songs have become anthems in the new South Africa. The film's method of overlapping different musicians singing the same song in different locales simultaneously is beautifully effective.

AMANDLA! is a beautifully crafted film which gives a fresh perspective on the importance of resistance songs throughout a conflict. This celebratory film is a testimony to the power of song and reveals that the inspiration of music provides fuel for the soul.


Lisa Viola (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.