Two of the great regular filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival, Nanni Moretti and Wim Wenders, opened the contest’s “Special and Out of Competition Sessions” today, the first with two short films and the second with a documentary on blues.
With Wenders’ film, Cannes today offered the first glimpse into a much The Forever Purge full movie online larger project, promoted by American director Martin Scorsese to tell the story of the blues.
The director decided to embark on this ambitious adventure after producing a film about Eric Clapton, who then suggested that he make a film about the musical genre of which he is a teacher.
Said and done, the promoters of Wenders’ film and those that are about to be completed by Scorsese himself, Charles Burnett, Clint Eastwood and Mike Figgis, explained at a press conference today about different aspects of this founding music.
The author of the documentary “Buena Vista Social Club” was one of the first to be contacted by Scorsese and although “the project was still very vague,” he got his immediate yes, Wenders explained.
It took him two years to shoot his film, “though not continuously,” and to explore “the dramatic tension that is the very essence of the blues, somewhere between the sacred and the profane”; a music to which no one is alien, because although it was born “as an expression of the blacks of the United States, it became a universal language,” he commented.
He made it through the life and work of three of his favorite musicians: Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, and J.B. Lenoir, in cities like New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles and also in studio, with abundant archive material and with, among other performers, Lou Reed, T-Bone Burnett, Shemekia Copeland and Lucinda Williams.
In the absence of archival material, as in the case of Skip James, of whom not even a photograph exists, Wenders recreated the necessary documents with archaic techniques and gave him a face with a musician of the same region and style, Keith Brown.
Another difficulty with Scorsese’s project, which spans the history of the blues from the late 19th century to the present, was copyright, the producers acknowledged.
It is a “complex and difficult matter, a bit like a detective game, until we end up finding the owners”, who sometimes are not the ones they should be, so that family members sometimes regain lost rights.
Among the most enriching aspects of his work, Wenders evoked the relationship that arises between music and image. “There is no rule”, but both “must meet”, as soon as they do it is a matter of “alchemy”, which produces a third element, “which is something more than the sum of the two”.
Despite everything, as he told EFE, this will be his last film on the subject for now.
“I have to tell other stories now; I abandon music a little, I have already made three films about it and I start my next shooting this summer,” he said.