Well, it is Cultural Monday again.
You have to admit as soon as you read that, something popped into your head.
Whether it was the boxer, the activist, the draft resister, the Nation of Islam, the man who stood tall against all enemies, the Greatest, something came to mind immediately.
Today we are looking at what many believe is the simply best documentary account of the man ever made.
That says a lot.
At the facebook page, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, we find this:
THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI will delve deeply into a time when an emerging sports superhero chooses faith and conscience over fame and fortune, a period that has been astonishingly overlooked in other Ali film. From his Louisville roots, through his years in exile, to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush, TRIALS traces Ali’s path from pariah to global ambassador for peace. Archival scenes highlight the life forces who support and oppose him, including his spiritual mentors, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, and critics of his stance, such as Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Interviews shot exclusively for the film feature those who were there: his brother, Rahman; his bride, Khalilah Camacho-Ali; New York Times writer, Robert Lipsyte; and Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. What emerges is the hidden history of Muhammad Ali and an opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover how his trials challenge us to reckon with today’s fissures of race, religion and war.
On their own web page, the filmmakers describe the film this way:
The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers the explosive crossroads of Ali’s life. When Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali, his conversion to Islam and refusal to serve in the Vietnam War leave him banned from boxing and facing a five-year prison sentence. Ali’s choice of belief and conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity that continue to confront us all today.
I think rather than taking up your time with my thoughts on the man or the documentary (which I have not seen), I will instead present you with two review/discussions of the film. The first is from Dave Zirin at the Nation. The second is from Prison Culture.
All I can add is that I want to see this.
PS: At the very bottom is a schedule of viewing information.
I watched the excellent documentary “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” by director Bill Siegel a few weeks ago. When it comes to a theatre in your town or city, I highly recommend that you see it. Dave Zirin wrote a very good review of the film in the Nation Magazine. You should read it for a synopsis of the documentary.
“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home. “