Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus


Reviewed by: Andrea Mullaney

Originally an Arena documentary, this achingly hip TV film is a road trip around the strangest parts of the American South - the places you don't see much in TV or movies, full of eccentrics, Bible bashers, preachers, teachers, drop outs and men who haven't seen a razor for years.

Alt-country singer Jim White is the guide, supposedly inspired by a wonky religious statue (a frankly annoying conceit) to discover the underside of the region and his style of presentation is heavily didactic. White has an agenda to convey and much of what he rambles about is either repetitive or incomprehensible. It's certainly very original, but you'll need a high tolerance for whimsy and the bizarre.

His territory is also startlingly white by nature as well as name, with nary a black Southerner to be found, which is surprisingly given the area's blues and jazz traditions, surely.

But where the film scores is with its soundtrack, performed by a clutch of lesser-known but mostly excellent alt-country and local musicians, who are filmed performing in odd, random locations - floating along a river, or hidden among trees, all beautifully shot. The likes of The Handsome Family, Melissa Swingle and David Johansen (along with White himself) give great performances of evocative and haunting songs. Fast-forward through the freakshow and admire the music.

Reviewed on: 02 Apr 2006
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Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus packshot
Documentary takes a musical road trip through the alt-country of the American South.
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Director: Andrew Douglas

Writer: Steve Haisman

Starring: Jim White, Harry Crews, Johnny Dowd, David Eugene Edwards, The Handsome Family, David Johansen, Lee Sexton, Melissa Swingle

Year: 2005

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: US


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