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...
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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
a beautiful somewhat disturbing look at the deep south
I saw this movie late at night myself as well and it's a mesmerizing film. I am from Canada, and the world portrayed in this film seems like from a far away distant country. Substitute Christianity for Islam or Hinduism or whatever crazy religion you want and there's not much difference, extremely poor, uneducated emotional people being whipped into a frenzy by charismatic preachers. It is fascinating but also disturbing. Jim White travels around describing this strange surreal world of misfits and fringe elements of an unforgiving society. But he looks at them with pity and sympathy, and it made me have a different view on these people. They live extremely hard lives in a land of obscene riches, if that isn't enough to drive anybody to the church, I don't know what is. Everything is black and white as one interviewed inmate describes "you're either an outlaw our your in the church", you're either going to hell, burning forever or you will be saved and go to heaven. They go to church, twirl around, speak in tongues and basically act completely crazy and if this were done anywhere else, they would be locked up, but in the church it's okay, which makes it kind of cool. It's kind of a enclosed crazy house where go absolutely bonkers and then (presumably) go back into the world and live a normal life. (Kind of reminds me of that episode of Star Trek with "Landrew", where the population goes completely looney at exactly noon for about 10 minutes every day). Of course there is the odd person, liked Jim describes, that goes absolutely nuts and stays that way. The saddest thing is these people and their leaders seem to be dictating a lot of decisions in the U.S. government right now, and after seeing this movie, the thought of that will send a shiver up your spine.
Interspersed among these scenes is some really beautiful music, some by Jim White himself, it's adds a really nice touch to all the grimness that you witness throughout this film. There is beauty here, there is a rawness of emotion that can express itself in religious fervor or musical incarnations. It almost seems like the message is to leave the former for the latter.
This is a nice companion piece to "The True Meaning of Pictures" a film by Shelby Lee Adams, a photographer who takes an unflinching look at the deep south. He goes even a little deeper than this film, interviewing the snake handlers and the strychnine drinkers, the REALLY wacked out elements of this society.
Anyway, if this subject interests you, seek these two films out, they are honest, unexploitive, unflattering and not condescending looks that the deep south.
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