When I have to come up with a music film that has excited me I most often think of "Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus" as one of the first. I think it's because it's the odd one out. It's not the usual chronological rockband coming of age story. Neither following a band during recordings. Or a concert performance. It's one part documentary, one part almost-musical and feels a bit like one part fiction, because each part is very staged in a unique way. It's about a place in the world and the frame of mind there, but music saturates every frame of this film.
The film's origin is an album by American musician Jim White. He's also our guide in the movie where he takes us through the deep, deep south of the US. Here you meet old banjo playing miners, no-questions-asked and entranced God-fearing Christians, roadside junkyards, high-boozin' jukejoints, serene swamps and southern musicians - some of which you might know.
Several of them appear in the movie. Besides Jim White you'll meet The Handsome Family, David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower and Woven Hand), David Johansen, Johnny Dowd, Rev. Gary Howlington, The Singing Hall Sisters, Melissa Swingle and Lee Sexton. It also features the author Harry Crews in a great interview where he walks beside a car while talking about the stories of the south.
When I took my first steps to doing my own first music documentary in 2010 this film was an immense inspiration (together with a few others). It set the bar. In a sense it dared to let the music inspire the film to be 'poetic' in its form.
The film was directed and beautifully photographed by Andrew Douglas. A real treat that I can't recommend enough.