Saturday, May 05, 2012
Hot Docs Mini Review: Beware of Mr. Baker
Posted by Courtney Small
Considered one of the greatest jazz drummers to every live, Ginger Baker is better known for his work with rock n’ roll supergroups Cream and Bad Faith. Hailed as a musical genius by his peers, Baker’s life is as unforgettable as the music he helped to create. Baker is one of those individuals who you would love to jam with musically, but would hate to be around on a social level. The fact that the film begins with Baker violently trusting his cane into the face of the film’s director, Jay Bulger, lets you know that Beware of Mr. Baker will not be your typical music documentary.
Baker’s volatile temper, and frequent drug use, caused the disbandment of many of the musical groups he was part of. While it would be easy to write Baker off as simply being crazy, Bulger’s film shows that he is far more complex than he appears. Not only is Baker’s love of Jazz and Polo documented, but we also see the large impact made on Bakers life from both a musical and personal standpoint. Baker opens up about the time he spent playing music with his friend Fela Kuti, one of Africa’s most accomplished musicians/activists. Baker even shows his softer side when he describes his love of horses. Sure he has squandered away a lot of his money on his 39 horses, but Baker has no regrets.
His “I could care less” attitude is what makes Beware of Mr. Baker such a riveting film. Baker may not win any father of the year awards, by all accounts he was a terrible father and husband, but he never claimed to be more than he was. He lived his life the way he felt fit and never cared about whether he was accepted by society. Featuring interviews from the likes of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Femi Kuti, Neil Peart, and a slew of other musicians, Bulger is able to create a film that nicely encapsulates Ginger Baker’s wild life. Fans of Baker will no doubt love the film, and newcomers to Ginger Baker will walk away from the film pleasantly surprised.
Screening: Saturday May 5th 1:00 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2