The Blues: The Soul of a Man

About performance

Film of the Alternative cinema: Authors' Collections series

USA, 2003

Director: Wim Wenders

Director Wim Wenders explores the lives of his favorite blues artists — Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, and J. B. Lenoir — in a film that is part history and part personal pilgrimage. The film tells the story of these artists' lives in music through a fictional film-within-a-film, rare archival footage, and covers of their songs by contemporary musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Eagle Eye Cherry, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cassandra Wilson, Garland Jeffreys, Los Lobos, and others.

Says Wenders: “These songs meant the world to me. I felt there was more truth in them than in any book I had read about America, or in any movie I had ever seen. I've tried to describe, more like a poem than in a 'documentary,' what moved me so much in their songs and voices.“

Performances in The Soul of a Man
T-Bone Burnett
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Eagle-Eye Cherry
Shemekia Copeland
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Skip James
Garland Jeffreys
Chris Thomas King
J. B. Lenoir
Los Lobos
John Mayall
Bonnie Raitt
Lou Reed
Vernon Reid
Marc Ribot
James „Blood” Ulmer
Lucinda Williams
Cassandra Wilson

Skip James: Keith B. Brown
Blind Willie Johnson: Chris Thomas King