classified 15

Stars Become Stars

Film + Event

Please note: This was screened in Oct 2016

Clint Eastwood
Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker
161 mins, 1988, USA

"I love the New York jazz scene of the late 40s and early 50s. It was the creative cauldron that produced some of the greatest musicians ever to play, and the greatest and most influential of them was Charlie (Bird) Parker whose style of playing influenced the next generation.

"There is little or no footage of that time. Clint Eastwood’s Bird brought me as close as I could get to the ambience and atmosphere of the time and with a revelatory performance from Forest Whitaker I could imagine I had seen the legendary Parker live.”

- Mark Cosgrove, Watershed Cinema Curator

Forest Whitaker gives a tour de force performance (which earned him Cannes' Best Actor award) as jazz visionary Charlie "Bird" Parker, bringing out all the triumphs and tragic dimensions of Parker's life to the screen from the agony of addiction to the ecstacy of music-driven redemption.

Arguably the best cinematic jazz biography ever made (its director Clint Eastwood is a devoted fan), this love letter to the genre shows the legendary saxophonist on stage, where Whitaker is flawless, and the drug addict that couldn't break out of his own head and whose shyness clashed with a jolting popularity and unparalleled artistic vision. Diane Venora is a miracle also has Parker's long-suffering 'wife' (he never bothered to get divorced from a teen marriage) Chan, and the music is, of course, a dream.

Get into the jazz mood and join us in the Café/Bar before the film from 22:00 - 23:00 for an intimate solo performance by saxophonist Camilla George, known for her collaborations with Tomorrow's Warriors, Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Jazz Jamaica. It promises to be a fitting accompaniment to Bird for both newcomers and aficionados.

Presented by Come the Revolution in partnership with Ujima Radio as part of

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These events are supported by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, part of the Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery.