When We Were Kings

March 15
Friday 10pm,
$5 all tickets…
(US / 1996 / dir by Leon Gast)
PG / 84 mins
 IN PERSON: Post-screening discussion with Leon Gast moderated by Woodstock Writers Festival’s Martha Frankel
Leon Gast’s Academy Award winning best feature documentary  about the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” championship boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974 is YOUNG RHINEBECK’s first film in its Teen Film Series.
The film is not just about the historical heavyweight championship fight match — it also speaks to issues of identity, culture and self-esteem. Held in 1974 in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, boxers Muhammad Ali and George Foreman came to this politically unstable African nation for what Ali called the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Leon Gast was there to film both the fight and a music festival (featuring B.B. King, The Pointer Sisters, and Miriam Makeba) organized by promoter Don King. Due to unforeseen complications he wasn’t able to complete the film until 22 years after he shot the fight and all the attendant hoopla. It was finally released in 1996, and wowed audiences for vivid portrait of the controversial Muhammed Ali. who Considered past his prime as a boxer, his refusal to serve in the U.S. military on moral grounds was still an issue in the minds of many. But here, Ali displays strength, skill, intelligence, and tremendous charm, making it clear how he became one of the most renowned figures in the world of sports. His opponent, George Foreman, who later became a warm commercial pitchman, was then a strong, forbidding opponent. A fascinating document of a great moment in sporting and cultural history, When We Were Kings also features interviews and commentary with several notable fight fans, including Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, and Spike Lee. The film won many accolades and honors including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature..
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