What would it take to raise a real sense of sorrow over the loss of someone who died nearly a half-century ago, even someone as iconic as Janis Joplin?

Time heals all wounds, the wisdom goes, but there’s a fresh melancholy that comes from watching Janis: Little Girl Blue. The film kicked off this year’s Houston Cinema Arts Festival last night at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Archival footage, new interviews and a narrative built from Joplin’s letters home, as read by Chan Marshall — better known as Cat Power — were meant to be a music film instead of a biopic, according to filmmaker Amy Berg, who was on hand for the screening.

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