Clarence Clemons spiritual life revealed in new documentary

“Who Do I Think I Am?” — a documentary film about the late Clarence Clemons will be screened in Philadelphia at the National Consitution Center Wednesday as part of the center’s current exhibition, From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen.

The beloved saxophone player, known for his work with Springsteen, died last June.

Clemons spent a good deal of time in China, where he was little known. On a lark, he and his friend, filmmaker Nick Mead, went to the Great Wall of China to go busking.

“We were bad tourists. We got up there 15 minutes before the Great Wall closed — or before the cable car stopped running — so we had to rush,” said Mead. “We had friends with us that stopped people from walking in front of the camera. And one guy pushed past and said, ‘Who do you think you are?'”

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Clarence, the grandson of a Southern Baptist preacher, took the question literally.

“It sincerly made Clarence think,” said Mead, who realized after the incident that there might be a story in the heretofore aimless footage. “He felt at that point that he may have gotten lost along the way. He was used to a certain lifestyle.”

The film, tracking Clemons’s spiritual journey, premiered at the Garden State Film Festival in the spring of 2011, just a few months before Clemons died from a stroke. The version screening at the Constitution Center will be 15 minutes longer, making it feature-length and a candidate for theatrical distribution.

Mead will be at the screening in person.

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