Late-night talk show viewers and NPR listeners have gotten healthy doses of Charles Bradley over the past few years; like most artists, the real-deal New York soul singer made the rounds to support his albums, 2011’s No Time for Dreaming and this year’s Victim of Love. But those TV and radio appearances don’t quite do him justice. Even though Bradley only has a couple of records under his belt, he’s got a big story to tell, and the documentary Charles Bradley: Soul of America gets to the heart of it. The film recounts his history as a wanderer who worked his way across the country before landing a gig as a James Brown impersonator, as well as his assimilation into the world of Daptone Records, the Brooklyn-based label that gave the world Sharon Jones. And the music is more pivotal than anything. Onstage, Bradley is an irresistible force, and director Poull Brien wisely lets his footage of live performances do as much of the talking as possible.
The film shows at 8:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $7–$12. (301) 495-6700. afi.com/silver