Honeydripper

honeydripper2Director: John Sayles

Cast: Danny Glover, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. Mable John

When the production notes describe the film as “a fable on the birth of rock and roll in America,” one expects something rumbustious. What you get instead is a meditative rumination on the human condition punctuated by a gloriously rich, deep, chocolate soundscape.

Set in a small town called Harmony in the Deep South in 1950, the movie tells the story of Tyrone “Pine Top” Purvis, the proprietor of the Honeydripper Lounge. It is a make or break weekend for Tyrone. There are no takers for the brand of live music played at the lounge as young people prefer the jukebox. Deep in debt, Purvis decides to let his long-time blues singer Bertha Mae go. Purvis hires a famous recording artist, Guitar Sam, for one night in the hope that he will be able to get customers and pay off his debts. At about the same time a youngster, Sonny Blake, wanders into town, suitcase and guitar in hand. Sonny is picked up the corrupt sheriff for vagrancy and rented out as unpaid labour.

The film, though set in a specific time and place, tells universal truths.

Purvis’ wife, Delilah, is wrestling between the twin pulls of family and an evangelical church while his daughter, China Doll is an idealist. The racism the film addresses is not the overt kind, rather it is the slow kind that eats into the soul of the victim and victimiser alike.honeydripper6

And then there is the wonderful music that punctuates the passages and bursts forth triumphantly. Performances by Motown legend Mable John and rising star Gary Clark Jr. are aural treats.

“Honey dripper” is a stirring film about life and music. Long live rock ’n’ roll

courtesy: The Hindu

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