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Soul of a Man, The

Soul of a Man, The
Keith Brown as Skip James

In The Soul of A Man, Wim Wenders looks at the dramatic tension in the blues between the sacred and the profane by exploring the music and lives of three of his favorite blues artists: Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir. Part history, part personal pilgrimage, the film tells the story of these lives in music through an extended fictional film sequence, rare archival footage, present-day documentary scenes and covers of their songs by contemporary musicians such as Shemekia Copeland, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Garland Jeffreys, Chris Thomas King, Cassandra Wilson, Nick Cave, Los Lobos, Eagle Eye Cherry, Vernon Reid, James “Blood” Ulmer, Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Marc Ribot, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lucinda Williams and T-Bone Burnett.

“These songs meant the world to me. I felt there was more truth in them than in any book I had read about America, or in any movie I had ever seen. I’ve tried to describe, more like a poem than in a ‘documentary,’ what moved me so much in their songs and voices.” Wim Wenders


Wim Wenders was born in Düsseldorf in 1945. After discovering his love for cinema in Paris, he attended film school in Munich from 1967-1970. Also active as a photographer and writer, he has made more than 50 films since 1971 all over the world. A selection of his acclaimed films includes: THE GOALKEEPER'S FEAR OF THE PENALTY (1971), ALICE IN THE CITIES (1973), IN THE COURSE OF TIME (1976), THE AMERICAN FRIEND (1977), HAMMETT (1982), THE STATE OF THINGS (1982), PARIS, TEXAS (1984), WINGS OF DESIRE (1987), UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (1991), FARAWAY, SO CLOSE! (1993), LISBON STORY (1994), THE END OF VIOLENCE (1997), BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB (1998), THE MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL (2000), THE SOUL OF A MAN (2003), LAND OF PLENTY (2004), DON'T COME KNOCKING (2005), PALERMO SHOOTING (2008), PINA (2011), CATHEDRALS OF CULTURE (2013), THE SALT OF THE EARTH (2014), and EVERY THING WILL BE FINE (2015).
Genre Educational, Music, Biopic
Category Docu-Fiction
Year of Production 2003
Director Wim Wenders
Screenplay Wim Wenders
Cinematography Lisa Rinzler
Mathilde Bonnefoy
Cast Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, Keith B. Brown
Producers Ulrich Felsberg, Alex Gibney, Margaret Bodde, Jody Patton, Martin Scorsese
Production Companies Vulcan Productions, Seattle, Road Movies Filmproduktion/Berlin
Length 100 min
Original Version
 English
Festivals Cannes 2003 (Special Sessions), Goteborg 2004, Singapore 2004

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