Documentary, directed by : James Erskine, produced by : David Blackman (executive), Will Clarke, Sophie Dilley, Daniel Inkeles, Andy mayson, Mike Runagall, Patrick Vandenbosch, Mediawan, Praesens Film (since 1924), music by : Hans Mullers, sound : Arne Thomas, Tom Wolliert, cast : Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, ..., (2020).
The tragic destiny of the famous jazz singer woman Billie Holiday has always been directed for the first time in the 1972 biopic "Lady sings the blues" with Diana Ross performing as Billie. This documentary gives a new approach of this legend because it's built on 200 recording hours taking by the journalist Linda L. Kuehl who followed the goal to write a biography about Billie's life. She will never do that because she'll disappear mysteriously. The film director James Erskine takes back the Linda L. Kuehl project with the help of a colorist woman from Brazil. Speaking about the Billie Holiday's life isn't something easy. Born Eleanor Harris Fagan in 1915 from a father music player and a mother prostitute her childhood is punctuated by violence and sometimes jailhouses. Eleanor wants another life and think that it could be on stage. She decides to change her name for becoming Billie Holiday by reference to a white silent movie actress Billie Dove. Billie Holiday will perform with the best musicians (Lester Young, Benny Goodman, Duke Elington, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, ...) but frequent bad guys only attracted by her money like pimps do. Billie Holiday improves a huge suffering coming from her sad life and the racism in United - States. The words of her songs like "Strange fruits" put the Americans face to face with their own contradictions. These feelings are underlining on stage towards her deep voice inside an intimistic atmosphere. The Billie Holiday way of living (alcool, drugs, bad guys) will take her down in spite of the fact that her last recorded album during the 1950's ("Lady sings the blues" (1956), "Lady in Satin" (1958), "Billie Holiday" (1959) are those of a potent artist.