Oscar-nominated director Amy J Berg portrays the conflicting and delicate world of Janis Joplin in her empathetic and poignant documentary of a singer who died aged 27 of a heroin overdose.
Janis Joplin emerges from Berg’s dichotomy as an individual still craving the acceptance of others despite her extraordinary success.
Mesmerising archive footage of Joplin on stage and behind the scenes takes you on a journey through the turbulent, but short life of the pioneering first lady of rock-n-roll.
Despite her furious triumph in an industry that was not made for her, she was still plagued by the haunting rejection of her peers from adolescence.
We hear from her siblings about the struggles she faced trying to conform to the strict moulds laid out for her by her rural Texas community, as well as the isolation she felt after her inability to do so.
But it was this uniqueness that eventually brought her success. From her voice – recognisable in an instant – to her iconic sense of style, still emulated today by thousands.
At her high school reunion, she seems poised for triumph, however interviews and letters show that the overwhelming need belong and feel validated was something that remained with her throughout her adult life.
The film also features letters written by Joplin to her parents and to lovers, providing what is perhaps one of the most interesting insights into her life, and perhaps the only true glimpse of her true self – displaying raw and open, her fears of the present, and her dreams for the future she was never to see.
Janice was a force of nature, addicted not only to the heroin that eventually took her life, but also to her art.
She was unable to cope with the overwhelming sense of aloneness she felt after the applause had ended, perhaps, as said by John Lennon in an interview with Dick Cavett (another of Janis’ lovers) it was this infinite need for more that drove her to heroin.
This beautifully crafted film of a powerful force of nature is not to be missed.
Featured Image by RV1864 via Flickr CC