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France, 1973

Production : Neyrac films

Programmed by Benoît Hické





Initially heading off to New York to shoot a documentary for the FR3 channel about the blues, director Roviros Manthoulis and screenwriter Claude Fléouter decided to turn the shoot into a drama with the actors and musicians they encountered. The movie is now a unique account of the origins of black music and the blues. The love affair between Hattie and Freddy, a young black couple lodging in Freddy’s mother’s apartment in Harlem, describes the everyday lives of black people in the US at the time. It’s illustrated with encounters and contributions from legendary musicians such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Sonny Terry and Junior Wells.

Tënk's opinion

The strength of Manthoulis’ film lies in how it plays with both documentary and blues codes. It could’ve boiled down to a series of encounters with the genre’s masters filmed in close-up in their old age in the 1970s when – finally – they experienced true glory… But no! Instead, Manthoulis chooses to use fiction’s methods (the narrative “vehicle” is embodied by Freddy, a young delinquent from Harlem struggling with relationship problems and endless hassles). The friction between these two registers submerges us into the very spirit of the blues, music that’s experienced and felt and lived. This is what BB King and Roosevelt Sykes are saying as they sing their hearts out about their lost loves, their lives stolen by pretty much everything. Like the best of them, this is a film to listen to as well as watch. It might make you smile, it might give you a buzz, you might wonder what path it’s taking you on. Trust it – the path is the blues…

Benoît Hické
Programmer and professor

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4