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Searching for the Wrong-Eyes Jesus (Unrated)

Release Date: July 13, 2005 (NYC-IFC Center), by Shadow Distribution.
Directed by Andrew Douglas.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the multifaceted spirit of the Deep South.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Throughout this very entertaining ode to the Deep South, the South itself becomes a quirky and complex character of its own. There's the folk music, the Appalachian music, and the other types of music that are unique to the South and bring out its character. The cinematography beautifully shows the glistening marshes and swamps as well as the old, historical qualities of the towns. But what really makes this film work is what truly makes the South the unique place that it is, which is the people. Some of them are low-lifes who have been in and out of jail. Many of them are simply poor. However, despite their difficult life they still maintain a great spirit and liveliness; their energy is almost contagious. It is difficult to resist being entertained by a place that is very rich in culture and most importantly, the bizarre yet amusing eccentricities of life itself.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Karl Marx once wrote that "Religion is the opiate of the masses". Boy was he right! What bonds all of the people in the documentary is their religion--their faith in Jesus. When they gather together in church, it is uplifting to watch their eyes light up and spirit soar. It is equally uplifting to watch them sing and dance together. At times, the southern individuals actions might be depressing and even disturbing--particularly one tough guy on a motorcycle that intimidates everyone he meets. Fortunately, they are bound by religion and they don't seem like they can ever lose their spirit of life.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A very strange, off-putting title for a film but its origins will become clear in the film itself.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A very well-shot documentary with a quirky, amusing, and occasionally depressing array of unique Southern trademarks.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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