Janis: Little Girl Blue
Tue February 9
2016, 7:30 only
Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic rock &
roll singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who
thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails
before her death in 1971 at age 27. With Janis: Little Girl
Blue, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us
from Evil, West of Memphis) examines Joplin’s
story for the first time on film, presenting an intimate and
insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered
With massive hits including “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Piece of My
Heart,” and such classic albums as Cheap Thrills and Pearl,
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joplin was one of the definitive stars
to emerge during the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s.
She delivered the breakout performance of the Monterey Pop
Festival, and was one of the most memorable highlights at
Woodstock. Her legacy has only grown since her passing; she ranked
high on Rolling Stone’s lists of both the Greatest Singers and
Greatest Artists of All Time, and is claimed as an influence by
virtually every female rocker who has followed (and many male
singers, as well).
Yet, as Janis: Little Girl Blue reveals, Joplin
never fully recovered from the persecution she felt as a social
outcast during her adolescence in Port Arthur, Texas—and for all
of her on-stage bravado and her uninhibited, sexualized persona,
she was haunted by insecurity and a need for acceptance throughout
her life. When she discovered the blues, she found an outlet for
her pain and loneliness, and when she made it to San Francisco at
the dawning of the hippie era, she fell into a community in which
she finally felt she belonged. Ultimately, Janis Joplin is a
paradox, a pioneer for a new kind of female performance and image
who never stopped seeking love and domestic stability, always on
her own terms.
Joplin’s own words tell much of the film’s story, through a
series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, many of
them made public here for the first time (and read by
Southern-born indie rock star Cat Power). This correspondence is
only one element of the stunning, previously unseen material Berg
discovered during the seven years she has spent working on Janis:
Little Girl Blue. New audio and video of Joplin in concert
and in the studio (some shot by legendary filmmaker D.A.
Pennebaker), and even footage from her emotional return to Port
Arthur for her tenth high school reunion, add depth and texture to
this remarkable story.
Interviews with Joplin’s family, childhood friends, musical
associates, and such noted colleagues as Bob Weir of the Grateful
Dead and TV host Dick Cavett give a complete sense of someone who
struggled to connect with both individuals and audiences, but
rejoiced fully when she made those bonds.
Janis Joplin was a powerhouse when she sang, and her recordings
have never left the radio or the hearts of rock fans worldwide.
With Janis: Little Girl Blue, though, Amy Berg offers
new understanding of a bright, complex woman whose surprising rise
and sudden demise changed music forever.
Janis: Little Girl Blue is a Content Film
presentation of a Disarming Films and Thirteen Productions LLC’s
American Masters production in Association with Jigsaw
Productions, Sony Music Entertainment and Union Entertainment
Group. Narrated by Chan Marshall, edited by Billy McMillin,
Garrett Price, and Joe Beshenkovsky with music by Joel Shearer.
Francesco Carrozzini served as cinematographer. The film is
produced by Alex Gibney, Amy Berg, Jeff Jampol, Katherine LeBlond
with Michael Kantor, Susan Lacy, Noah C Haeussner, Stacey Offman
and Michael Raimondi as executive producers. The film is directed
by Amy Berg.
To see a trailer and read a review, visit InternationalFilmSeries.com.