With very few resources, first-time film director,  Eliane Henri, audaciously filmed in the jazz clubs of New York, Los Angeles, Paris and across Mediterranean Europe, chronicling the last year of of her friend and trumpet legend, Roy Hargrove’s life.  HARGROVE, a documentary that Henri screened at the Pan African Festival in Baldwin Hills on February 14, returns to PAFF for a final screening on Sunday, February 19,  dives into multidimensional perspectives on Black music while offering a glimpse into the politics of power and race in the music industry. 

A defiant Henri appears in the film as Roy’s biographer and confidante, loving him and protecting him, while documenting the mercurial jazz legend’s final stages.  “Black audiences should see this film because Roy Hargrove was one of our legendary jazz greats, and it is an important historical document about Black history and music history,” said Henri.  “Plus it’s  swings! This unique film, a love letter to Black art and culture, is a timeless classic.”

Documentary film director, Eliane Henri, takes a moment with her friend and jazz great, Roy Hargrove, on his last tour. courtesy photo

Roy’s narrative reverberates in today’s Black Lives Matter movement with issues of ethics, exploitation, and empathy called into question. Told in vérité style Hargrove interweaves themes of friendship, art, spirituality and death with stellar live performances and intimate interviews. Music icons Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, Questlove, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis and yasiin bey reflect on Roy’s inedible impact, giving him his place amongst the constellations. 

Henri says she is honored to be a part of the Pan African Film Festival and showing in her home town. “We had a sold out show last night, and I got so many sweet notes from audience members today. I love screening for predominately Black audiences because you can hear what their response is to the film in real time as it’s playing!” an excited Henri stated.  After the film, Henri takes him to connect with the audience.  On the 14th, she spoke about the highs and lows of independent filmmaking, fighting through the challenges, constantly having to find the money and resources, and forging ahead as a Black woman with a passion for documenting and being a griot of Black stories. “I could tell the film really impacted the audience and made them feel something, and that means the world to me.”

To learn more about the film, visit https://www.filmindependent.org/programs/fiscal-sponsorship/hargrove/

HARGROVE screens at the Cinemark Theaters in the Crenshaw / Baldwin Hills Mall on Sunday, February 19, at 9:30 p.m.  To purchase tickets visit https://paffreimagined23.org/films


Hargrove film trailer