Throughout the year I have been studying the documentary 'When We Were Kings' based around the 1974 World Boxing Championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was staged in Zaire, Africa and is subsequently predominantly an African influenced film, although still effective in delivering the story and exposition of one of the greatest sporting moments of our modern era. Through use of a complex sound track - including live sound and interviews from the past - Gast is able to entice me to continue viewing the colourful, musical and exciting documentary. Using a majority of archival footage combined with a cast of experts and witness' Leon Gast captures the moment whilst providing us with the necessary background…show more content… Gast's use of live footage from the "African Woodstock" of superstars of the music of the day - James Brown, and BB King - I found particularly effective in portraying the importance of a culture returning to it's origins. The energy created by performers such as James Brown can do nothing but up the tempo and build excitement, while the slow, sombre blues solos of BB king remind us of Ali's daunting task. Gast has been able to provide tempo and excitement to a lot of his black and white / archival footage and engages us by launching in to exciting music straight after the slower, almost monotonous - compared with the rest of the film - recounts of historical witness' such as Norman Mailer and George Plimpton. The music used by Gast is by Ali's definition the music of "my brothers" or "black man's music" and what better music to reflect the mood and atmosphere at the pinnacle of Ali's career and breaking free of black America.
Gast began filming 'When We Were Kings' in 1974 after he was hired to go and film the rock concert that was to be staged alongside the fight. Gast took so much footage that it took him twenty three years to sort and find backing for his Ali epic, and it all paid of through Gast's achievement at the Academy Awards. For Gast to be that involved - that he shot so much relevant footage - and to have pursued his vision until completion, he must have received so much inspiration from Muhammad Ali and