“They always hold up something more than they’re prepared to give.”
Just before her death at the age of 27, Janis Joplin rehearses, performs, tours, visits her 10th high school reunion, and discusses her art with interviewers.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
This documentary about legendary rock star Janis Joplin — part of the infamous “27 Club” as one among too many artists who died at such a young age — is comprised exclusively of archival footage, without any additional narration or commentary (or, for that matter, any mention of her death). Though limited, it remains a poignant piece of collated cinema that may not answer many questions, but does give us a glimpse into the life of this traumatized young singer whose life was consumed by drugs. To that end, we’re able to clearly see how high and/or out-of-it Joplin was for much of her existence, while simultaneously giving powerhouse performances that — paraphrasing her own words — were what gave her energy and purpose in life. In this footage — as in her songs — she puts it all out there, being as consistently authentic as possible. While it will be of most interest — indeed, essential viewing — for Joplin fans, I think it’s worth a look by all film fanatics for its historical value.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Many memorable sequences and songs
Yes, as an invaluable time capsule of Joplin’s short life.