Spike Lee’s tribute to Michael Jackson at Venice

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(AFP) – US director Spike Lee brought together Michael Jackson’s studio hands and previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage for a documentary that premiered at the Venice film festival.

“Bad 25” deliberately leaves out the scandals surrounding the late pop legend in favour of an in-depth look at the making of “Bad” — 25 years after the release of what became one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Home videos shot by Jackson himself or by his closest collaborators during rehearsals will delight fans, revealing the king of pop’s impish sense of humour, unflagging creative energy and meticulous attention to detail.

Many of the interviews were shot in the studio where “Bad” was recorded and bring out the still-raw emotions over Jackson’s 2009 shock death from choreographers, sound technicians and musicians who knew him at his best.

The documentary is a treasure trove for nostalgics for big hair and pop beat days, with tributes from singers Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder as well as Lee’s voice heard off camera chuckling in the interviews.

Interviews with Martin Scorsese, who filmed the music video for “Bad”, and concerts and footage of screaming fans also brings back memories of the anticipation surrounding the release of the album in pre-Internet days.

It is perhaps weighed down, however, by the bewildering quantity of the interviews and very little footage of Jackson himself talking about his work.

A half-hearted attempt to affirm Jackson’s place in the tradition of African-American soul singers is also perhaps insufficiently explained.

The documentary is scheduled for general release in September.

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