There is something intoxicating and unnerving about the back roads of the rural American South. With its juxtaposition of violence and spirituality, the juke joint and the pulpit, revelry and reverence, it serves up a sense of the unpredictable and life on the edge.
That’s a sense that is all too real in ‘Gip: Son of the South’, a brand new short film from the partnership between Protein TV and biannual arts magazine, So It Goes.
The film is the portrait of Gip, a legend in the American Juke music scene. Somewhere between 90 and 100 years old and the grandson of a freed slave, Gip holds the keys to one of the last surviving juke-joints of the South: “Gip’s Place” that has been operating on the outskirts of Bessemer, Alabama, since 1952. He also runs a graveyard – ironic for a man who could have been put in the ground several times over, and has the bullet holes to prove it.
Directed by Joshua Bullock, Gip’s story crosses generations, giving an atmosphere of an other-worldy being who has seen all kinds of things in his long life and has overcome great odds to give the community around him hope and purpose. Every dog-gone Saturday night. Catch his bullet wounds, his views on Jesus and death, and his place in the community around him. The obvious comparison is with Jim White’s ‘Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus’, and similarly this is a window into life led on the edge in the American underbelly. It’s a side of the USA that is fast being eaten up, which is maybe for the best for the poor people in the communities, but a disappearance that makes images like this all the more important and evocative.
View ‘Gip: Son of the South’ at http://gip.prote.in/