TIFF 2015: Janis: Little Girl Blue

The life and career of Janis Joplin is told in the documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue. Janis Joplin was born in 1943 in the town of Port Arthur, Texas. Despite having some body image issues, it quite apparent that that the blues-loving Joplin had an excellent singing voice and she rose to fame as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. However, Joplin suffered from substance abuse problems, which would ultimately claim her life.

Janis Joplin was a blue-influenced rock singer from the 1960s, known for her sultry voice and the songs “Piece of My Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” However, Joplin is also known in infamy as one of the members of the “27 club,” with her dying of a heroin overdose in the fall of 1970. Janis: Little Girl Blue is made up of much archive and performance footage of the singer, along with interviews with her siblings, band mates, and other people who knew her. The film also features narration by singer Cat Power, who is reading out various letters that Joplin had written.

This has turned into a particularly strong year for autobiographical music documentaries, which has also seen the release of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and Amy. Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis), Janis: Little Girl Blue is a quite fine biography of Janis Joplin, particularly when it comes to the excellent archive and performance footage. This is a documentary most worth checking out by music fans.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).