Searching for The Wrong-Eyed Jesus is a captivating and compelling road trip through the creative spirit of the the Southern U.S. Director Andrew Douglas's film follows "Alt Country" singer... See full summary »
Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a rich merchant's daughter, but is spurned by her father and forced to roam the world for a thousand and one nights - but not before he's ... See full summary »
Searching for The Wrong-Eyed Jesus is a captivating and compelling road trip through the creative spirit of the the Southern U.S. Director Andrew Douglas's film follows "Alt Country" singer Jim White through a gritty terrain of churches, prisons, truck stops, biker bars and coal mines. This is a journey through a very real contemporary Southern U.S., a world of marginalised white people and their unique and home-made society. Along the way are road-side encounters with modern musical mavericks including The Handsome Family, Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower and David Johansen; old time banjo player Lee sexton; rockabilly and mountain Gospel churches - and novelist Harry Crews telling grisly stories down a dirt track. Written by
Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus takes the outsider on a beautiful lyrical esoteric journey through a part of the South that most of us have never seen. In that sense, it is eye-opening. However, its Cinema Verite approach lacks context and leaves the outsider to understand that are being presenting with something truly central about the essence of the modern "South" when in reality they are only seeing a highly-selective isolated and fading subculture of the poor, rural, white, poorly-educated, mostly Pentecostal world of a few small Southern towns. By only presenting this small piece of the South, the director seems to reinforce, probably unintentionally, the negative stereotypes of Southerners as "hicks" that too many outsiders unfortunately already hold. As someone who has lived in more urban parts of Virginia and Texas for the last 26 years, I find this selective picture of the "South" to be very off-putting and incomplete. The outsider is not given the context to understand the true complexity of the American South. Most Southerners live in urban and suburban areas. The importance of African-Americans to southern culture is sadly not shown. Most Southerners are not Pentecostals speaking in tongues. Most Southerners are better educated and more sophisticated than those shown in this film. The South is an increasingly multi-cultural region as well. Nor does this picture provide the viewer with any sort of analysis or economic understanding of why this part of the rural South has been left behind. Rather than presenting the heart of the South as the film implicitly claims, it shows the margins of the modern South. That's fine and important, but without more context it risks doing a disservice to the world it is trying present fairly. The viewer would be better served by a fuller accounting of today's south and an explanation of why these people shown have been marginalized.
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