A new documentary detailing the brilliant rise and sudden death of Janis Joplin, Janis: Little Girl Blue, will make its world premiere on September 5th at the Venice Film Festival. The film boasts a bevy of new audio and video footage, and in this exclusive clip for Rolling Stone, Joplin can be seen departing New York’s famed Chelsea Hotel and lounging with friends and bandmates in California.
As late Big Brother and the Holding Company Sam Andrew recalls in the clip, the band lived at the Chelsea while they were recording 1968’s Cheap Thrills, and then spent a good chunk of the year in Southern California when they weren’t on the road.
Set to Big Brother’s rendition of “Magic of Love,” the footage of Joplin and company poolside or running around New York is innocent enough. Though Andrew casually remembers, “We would get together and do heroin in these peoples’ rooms and just kind of, not nod off or go to sleep, but have really nice, mellow conversations.”
Janis: Little Girl Blue was directed by Amy J. Berg — who earned an Oscar nomination in 2007 for Deliver Us From Evil — and narrated by Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power), who will read from the rock legend’s personal letters.
The film will explore the two sides of Joplin: The storied, empowered musician on record and stage and the woman who remained haunted by insecurities borne out of a difficult adolescence in Port Arthur, Texas. Among the film’s unearthed gems is footage of Joplin playing “Me and Bobby McGee” for members of the Grateful Dead and the Band, as well as her return to Texas for her 10-year high school reunion.
Janis features interviews with Bob Weir, Clive Davis, Melissa Etheridge, D.A. Pennebaker (who also contributes film and audio from his archives) and Dick Cavett, as well as Joplin’s family, childhood friends and bandmates. Following its world premiere at Venice, the doc will make its North American debut at the Toronto Film Festival, which begins September 10th.