Janis: Little Girl Blue
with guest director Amy Berg and moderator Bun B.
With Janis: Little Girl Blue, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) examines singer Janis Joplin’s story for the first time on film, presenting an intimate and insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist. With massive hits including “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Piece of My Heart,” and such classic albums as Cheap Thrills and Pearl, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joplin was one of the definitive stars to emerge during the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s. Yet, as Janis: Little Girl Blue reveals, Joplin never fully recovered from the persecution she felt as a social outcast during her adolescence in Port Arthur, Texas, and for all of her on-stage bravado and her uninhibited, sexualized persona, she was haunted by insecurity and a need for acceptance throughout her life. When she discovered the blues, she found an outlet for her pain and loneliness, and when she made it to San Francisco at the dawn of the hippie era, she fell into a community in which she finally felt she belonged.
Joplin’s own words tell much of the film’s story, through a series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, many of them made public here for the first time (and read by Southern-born indie rock star Cat Power). This correspondence is only one element of the stunning, previously unseen material Berg discovered during the seven years she has spent working on Janis: Little Girl Blue. New audio and video of Joplin in concert and in the studio (some shot by legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker), and even footage from her emotional return to Port Arthur for her tenth high school reunion, add depth and texture to this remarkable story.
Directed by Amy Berg
Written by Amy Berg
Cinematography by Paula Hidobro, Jenna Rosher
Editing by Brendan Walsh, Maya Hawke, Garret Price
Music by Joel Shearer
Narrated by Chan Marshall, Cat Power