Skip to main content

DUKE ELLINGTON: REMINISCING IN TEMPO

USA, 1992 (MIFF 1993, Documentaries)

Director: Robert S. Levi

Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo is a portrait of a man who, for over fifty years, led a dance band around the world and created a lasting body of music. A chronicle of social change, the film examines Ellington's subtle role in fighting segregation in U.S. society and challenging the reign of prejudice.

During the course of an interview with the great American composer he is asked for an answer to that intriguing old conundrum "Where did you get your ideas from?" The Duke answers mischievously "The ideas? Man, I got a million dreams. All I do is dream all the time!"

From his first recording of Black and Tan Fantasy in 1927 to his death in 1974, Duke Ellington's dreams realised over 1,500 compositions and inspired him to lead his celebrated band more or less continously for nearly 50 years. Ellington refused to be hindered or categorised by the relentless racial and musical stereotyping that affected his contemporaries and this moving film tells the story of an exuberant, idiosyncratic and much-loved personality.

See also...

NITRATE KISSES

For many years filmmaker Barbara Hammer has been creating provocative, often experimental, imagery. In this, her first feature documentary, she has assembled an intense and exceptionally vital ... More »

MY HOME, MY PRISON

My Home, My Prison is based on the autobiography of Palestinian journalist Raymonda Tawil, one of the first Palestinians to engage Israelis in dialogue (after the 1967 Six Day War) twenty-four years ... More »

WARREN OATES: ACROSS THE BORDER

... ... Directors Tom Marksbury and Tom Thur­man fell under the spell of Warren Oates at a young age after seeing him in The Wild Bunch and made this film partly in an endeav­our to explain ... More »

JOAN MITCHELL: PORTRAIT OF AN ABSTRACT ARTIST

Joan Mitchell was one of the only women among New York's dynamic Abstract Expressionists — Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning. A fascinating and complex woman, the film is a ... More »

SPELLBOUND

"Jeff Blitz's riveting documentary follows eight young competitors of all backgrounds as they compete in the National Spelling Bee. During this high-pressure Super Bowl of the vocabulary, Blitz ... More »

RUNNING STUMBLED

Director John Maringouin's Faustian confrontation with the estranged father, who once tried to kill him, was dubbed “one of the ultimate anti-drug films” when it appeared at the Rotterdam ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director