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Spike Lee’s love letter to Michael Jackson, Bad 25

posted 31 Aug 2012, 10:50 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 Aug 2012, 10:51 ]

Spike Lee presents Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25 - which is about the making of Jackson's album Bad.

Director Spike Lee brought his documentary about the making of Michael Jackson's 1987 album "Bad" to Venice on Friday (Augsut 31), telling reporters his film was a 'love letter' to the dead pop star.
"Bad 25" may border on hagiography at times, but live footage and the singer's attention to detail when at the peak of his powers are a reminder of why he remains the "King of Pop".

"What Michael Jackson means to me is really embodied in this documentary because I am not trying to sound trite but for me this is a love letter to Michael Jackson," Lee told reporters.

The two-hour documentary, which has its world premiere at the Venice film festival on Friday, is a familiar mix of talking heads - choreographers, producers and stars - and film of concerts, rehearsals and music videos.

Lee said he wanted to remember Jackson for his talent, rather than all the controversy surrounding his life and death.

"Let's concentrate on Michael and his music let all the other stuff go, and let's not just stop with Bad lets keep going, the man has a tremendous, stupendous body of work," he said.

Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Jackson's acclaimed follow-up to "Thriller", Lee provides few surprises for Jackson aficionados, but paints a picture of a genius at work who cared about every step of the production process.

The documentary has the backing both of the singer's estate and his record label, giving Lee access to many of the key players in the making of what is regarded as a milestone album.

Among the novelties is footage taken by Jackson himself, using a handheld camera, of Siedah Garrett singing "Man in the Mirror", the song she co-wrote for the star, a cappella save for an off-camera clicking of fingers laying down the beat.

There are also small yet enlightening insights and hints as to Jackson's true character, be it his interest in women, competitive spirit, professional drive or obsession over the smallest riff and dance step.

Near the end of Bad 25 there is a memorable live performance of "Man in the Mirror", after which Jackson holds his hands aloft to form the shape of a cross.

"I am not going to say that Michael was saying he was Jesus Christ but if you look at that performance he's somewhere else and that was from the Wembley show, that is one of the greatest performances ever. Ever, ever, ever. And you see the way Michael is singing that song he is not of this world he is in another, he is somewhere else. So I cannot say why he did stretch his arms out," Lee said.

The film portrays Jackson's competitive streak that drove him to try to top the sensational success of his 1982 album "Thriller", still the best-selling album of all time, with Bad five years later.

He even scrawled "100,000,000" on his mirror to remind him of his target. While industry estimates vary widely, Thriller is estimated to have sold between 60-110 million copies worldwide, while Bad went on to sell 30-45 million.