Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
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As one of two major documentaries on hotly debated Senegalese world musician Youssou N'Dour to emerge within a year of one another (see also Youssou N'Dour: Return to Gor (C)e), this particular chronicle was produced and shot over a period of several years. Helmed by director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, it witnesses the evolution and production of N'Dour's June 2004 album Egypt, on the Nonesuch label -- the recording that details N'Dour fully expressing his newfound Muslim faith. A veritable bedrock of controversy, the album courted objections from multiple countries:… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"By far the most powerful element is N'Dour's lone voice, a thing of high, pure beauty that feels at once ancient and new. When he sings, an otherwise earnestly conventional film becomes a vehicle of incantatory power."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"Youssou N'Dour is a beautiful film to watch as it unfolds the life of N'Dour and, by extension, the lives of millions of West Africans who are anonymous to many in the West."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"Inspirational concert film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"While the rambling, repetitive look at his life off stage is unevenly edited, his music is gloriously heard and seamlessly presented to an appreciative global audience."
‑ Nora Lee Mandel,
"Fans and newcomers to N'dour's music will be equally enthralled by the finely observed, patiently wrought documentary."
‑ Wade Major, Boxoffice Magazine
"This documentary by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi could have used more music for my taste, and fewer talking heads. But it's absorbing all the same. N'Dour is the sort of humanitarian bridge that we need in a world so sharply divided."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"N'Dour is the film's unstoppable force, handsome and radiating joy. He's the kind of performer who is larger than life but always seems like one of the family."
‑ Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times
"When the music starts playing, it's easy to forgive the film's flaws."
‑ Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News
"Documentary about a great world-music performer is colorful but also suffers from a certain blandness and repetitiveness. A pure concert movie with biographical interruptions would have been preferable."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"It becomes gratingly obvious fairly early on that N'Dour's faith and nationality reside within the many nebulous blind spots of occidental awareness, to the point where filmed rituals virtually demand a glossary."
‑ Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant Magazine
"Be sure to stay through the closing credits as the scenes of Senegalese life act as a captivating coda to a film pulsing with music and memory."
‑ Cary Darling, Dallas Morning News
"Although his movie often resembles the kind of promotional video one might find as an extra on a concert DVD, N'Dour in full throttle is a sight, and sound, to behold."
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"An inspiring and edifying cinematic exploration of the power of music and the soul of a big-hearted African Sufi singer who has used his exceptional talent and creativity to make a better world."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"A lively, soulful documentary that lacks sufficient insight into the life of Youssou N'Dour."
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
More reviews for Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love on Rotten Tomatoes