IMDb > Louie Bluie (1985)

Louie Bluie (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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Louie Bluie -- Documentary trailer featuring an outspoken artist

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About the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America. | Add synopsis »
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Awards:
2 nominations See more »
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The Blues never felt so good... See more (4 total) »

Cast

 
Howard Armstrong ... Himself
Ted Bogan ... Himself

Directed by
Terry Zwigoff 
 
Produced by
Frank Simeone .... producer
Terry Zwigoff .... producer
 
Original Music by
Howard Armstrong 
 
Cinematography by
John Knoop 
Christopher Li 
David Myers 
 
Film Editing by
Victoria Lewis 
 
Sound Department
Greg Bezat .... sound editor
Kirk Francis .... production sound mixer
 
Editorial Department
Devon Miller .... assistant editor
Nancy Paweski .... negative cutter
 

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Additional Details

Runtime:
75 min
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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
The Blues never felt so good..., 28 December 1998
Author: J. Canker Huxley from USA

Simply put, "Louie Bluie" is one of the best usages of film ever.

This movie is introduced by director Terry Zwigoff ("Crumb") as a search for 1930s bluesman Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong and the style of music known as "string-blues. However, it rapidly evolves into more than the average documentary on music.

Much of the credit has to go to Armstrong. As a 75-year-old mandolin and violin virtuoso, painter, poet, and all-around hellraiser, Armstrong bursts onto the screen as a celebration of life itself. The stories told by him and his musican friends would bury any manufactured Hollywood script.

Credit also goes to Zwigoff who allows himself to be second to his main character and the stories he tells. His filming is effortless so the view feels incredibly close to the characters and the subject at hand. Furthermore, the director is able to involve issues such as racism and discriminary practices of the past without being overbearing or losing the upbeat nature of the film.

Zwigoff is well-rewarded for his efforts. Not only do we learn about the world of string-blues, but we also discover that the African-American based string-blues (which we get ample helpings) was highly influencial on country music. Even more fascinating is Armstrong's discussion with fellow musician Ted "Dark Gable" Bogan on how black musicians would avoid 1930s racism by learning the languages of immigrant groups.

I cannot say enough of this film other than that I only wish that Hollywood could find more characters as interesting and witty Howard Armstrong and more caring directors like Terry Zwigoff. If only more films, documentary or otherwise, could be like "Louie Bluie"...

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