Screened as part of Autumn Events 2016
“For an intelligent portrait of Janis Joplin, head straight for Amy Berg’s superb new documentary, which incorporates revelatory interviews with family, friends, band members and associates (some long since dead), a good deal of stirring live and archive footage, and a lot of insight from people who knew her well.
It strikes a fine balance between the Janis we think we know – the strung-out psychedelic white-blues belter who roared out of Haight-Ashbury in 1967 and found instant stardom after slaying them at Monterey – and the other half of her. Namely the Texas teenager with the classic, boring, suburban 50s, Manson-girl childhood (smart, odd-duck kid, loving but distant parents) who – as she grew up – routinely found herself athwart her times, her place, her gender, her sexuality and all the conventional expectations of her, including the retrogressive race norms of her day…
Best of all is the chance to reacquaint oneself not only with the real Janis – so naturally charming and funny – and her gigantic voice, but also with Janis the unexpectedly magnificent fashion icon, decked out in boas, tons of rings, big pink sunglasses, gold dresses, striped bellbottoms, the works. Style-wise, she was her own masterpiece. To quote a Facebook meme I spotted recently: ‘In a world of Kardashians, be a Janis!’” — John Patterson, The Guardian