SXSW Film Review: 'Born in Chicago'

Archival footage meets contemporary performances in this music doc

SXSW Film Review: 'Born in Chicago'

24 Beats per Second, World Premiere

D: John Anderson; with Barry Goldberg, Sam Lay, Elvin Bishop, Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenitas, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, and many others

“You cannot play music that hasn’t passed through Chicago.” So declares Marshall Chess, scion of legendary Chess Records and narrator of Born in Chicago, which focuses on “the transition” from the city’s blues giants – Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, et al. – to the very young white musicians who sat at their feet, studied their licks, and took their places among the bands that both extended the tradition and spun off the myriad genres of rock & roll. The film began, said director John Anderson, as a concert film of the Chicago Blues Reunion, and grew into a broader project of Out the Box Records, sustaining the music chronicled here. Fascinating archival footage is mixed with contemporary performances – often yearningly brief. Survivors recount the early South and West side clubs, and inheritors (e.g., Jack White) describe the influence and transformations of the blues as the central matrix of popular forms. Enjoy, and ponder.

Friday, March 15, 5pm, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

READ MORE
More SXSW Film
SXSW Unleashes the Midnighters
SXSW Unleashes the Midnighters
Mayhem, 68 Kill, plus Behind the Mask retrospective

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 7, 2017

SXSW Announces Film Lineup
SXSW Announces Film Lineup
Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, Ben Wheatley's Free Fire, and more

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 31, 2017

More SXSW
SXSW Adds Speakers, Films
SXSW Adds Speakers, Films
Buzz Aldrin, Kesha, Cory Booker, Cecile Richards, and more

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 7, 2017

SXSW Taps FBI Director James Comey
SXSW Taps FBI Director James Comey
FBI chief will discuss privacy and cybersecurity at March fest

Chase Hoffberger, Jan. 26, 2017

More by Michael King
Council Preview: Promised Land Use
Council Preview: Promised Land Use
Austin Oaks, Plaza Saltillo loom large for Thursday

Feb. 17, 2017

LBJ Library Director Steps Down
LBJ Library Director Steps Down
Mark Updegrove recalls “the greatest honor of my career”

Feb. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW, South by Southwest, Born in Chicago, John Anderson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)