The blues is a seven-part documentary film series exploring the evolution of the blues, featuring rare archival performance footage of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon ... et al., also including over 100 newly-filmed performances by contemporary artists such as B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Beck ... et al. singing classic blues songs.
Focuses on issues of identity -- how individuals see and define themselves based on clothes, where they live, how they see their place in the world. Profiles/interviews fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto as he and his staff prepare for presentation of a seasonal collection. Director/writer Wim Wenders compares the film and fashion industries, illustrating how they parallel one another.
3) Piano blues
Director and piano player Clint Eastwood explores his life-long passion for piano blues, using a treasure trove of rare historical footage in addition to interviews and performances.
Charles Burnett explores his own childhood being shuttled between a religious mother and a blues-loving uncle. His film combines fiction with documentary footage in the story of a young boy kidnapped to prevent his being saved by a church that viewed blues as the devil's music.
Mike Figgis' film mixes interviews with dozens of the key players of the British blues movement with new music from an all-star jam session at the Abbey Road studios.
In 1996, Ry Cooder went to Cuba, rediscovering talents of Cuba's foremost musicians and making a recording with them that sold millions and earned a Grammy Award. Cooder now returns to Cuba with filmmaker Wim Wenders to reveal the stories, personalities, and music of the performers who collaborated on that recording. Includes live performances in Amsterdam and at Carnegie Hall.
Hip-hop legend Chuck D and Marshall Chess return to Chicago to explore the heyday of Chicago blues as they unite to produce music that seeks to bring veteran blues players together with contemporary hip-hop musicians such as Common and members of the Roots. Along with archival footage of Howlin' Wolf are original performances by Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Ike Turner and Sam Lay.