‘Jimi’ paints psychedelic portrait

September 26, 2014 7:59 AM

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When I first saw “Jimi: All Is By My Side” at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, I was captivated by writer-director John Ridley’s novel approach to the rock bio, a notoriously hide-bound genre. Avoiding the usual cradle-to-grave panorama, Ridley — who won an Oscar earlier this year for writing the “12 Years a Slave” screenplay and whose last film as a director was 1997’s “Cold Around the Heart” — focuses on the period from May 1966 to May 1967. In those 12 months, Jimi Hendrix went from being an unknown R&B guitarist in a New York bar to the psychedelic toast of London; the film ends as he heads off to the Monterey Pop Festival, where he will light his guitar on fire and go supernova.

It’s a great idea: a portrait of the artist on the rim of greatness. “Jimi: All Is By My Side” is told chronologically but impressionistically, and it sees the world from inside the head of its spacey genius star-child. André Benjamin, a.k.a. André 3000, half of the hip-hop/soul-funk duo Outkast, pl...

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