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Five Essential Rock Movies From the Toronto Film Fest: Guitar Gods, Zaire '74 Doc and More

September 15, 2008 4:54 PM ET

The 10-day Toronto International Film Festival ended this past weekend after the screening of 312 movies from 64 countries. Here's a quick guide to the fest's must-see music films:

It Might Get Loud is a documentary from An Inconvenient Truth's Davis Guggenheim about the electric guitar, as told by three generations of musicians: Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White. The trio talk separately about discovering, mastering and manipulating the instrument, then come together in an unrehearsed setting to share stories and show each other a thing or two. "A lot of films become the encyclopedia of an instrument or the music; a lot of films become a pompous dissertation on the whole contribution, and we wanted to flip it on its side and tell a story in a different way and hopefully get underneath what the contribution of these incredible people actually is," Guggenheim explained during a press conference.

Soul Power is the long-awaited documentary about Zaire '74, a three-day music festival that took place in Africa at the same time as Ali-Foreman's Rumble in the Jungle fight, which was chronicled in 1996's Oscar-winning When We Were Kings. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, an editor on that doc, sifted through reels of fragile tape for footage of the concert that brought African and American musicians together, including James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. "For me, what I loved is that at every moment people are making music," Levy-Hinte tells Rolling Stone. "They're making music when they're speaking, when they're on the stage, when they're in their hotel rooms, when they're walking down the street. Obviously, I put together the film to accentuate that, but that was my overriding sense, and also in this kind of united through the rhythm, [they are] united through this, it's trite to say, universal language of music."

Who Do You Love is a fictionalized account of brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, who sold their junkyard business to start a live music club and record label in Chicago. Focusing on Leonard and his single-minded love of the blues, the film starring Alessandro Nivola focuses on the early stages of Chess Records and signings of such artists as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Walter and "Who Do You Love" composer Bo Diddley. It also introduces a character named Ivy, with whom Leonard has an affair in the film (rumored to be based on Etta James). Keb' Mo' appears as Waters' guitarist Jimmy Rogers.

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love follows the world-renowned Senegalese singer during his 2004 Egypt album, which expressed his devout Sufi Muslim beliefs. It was rejected in his homeland as blasphemous but earned his first Grammy in America.

Detroit Metal City is an over-the-top Japanese comedy, based on the popular manga series, about a geeky farmboy who winds up fronting a death-metal band that sings about murder and rape. Gene Simmons makes a cameo.

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