GENGHIS BLUES – 20th Anniversary (35mm)

The 20 Anniversary of Roko Belic’s hugely influential, Oscar®-nominated documentary about blind bluesman Paul Pena, throat-singing sensation Kongar-ol Ondar & a ragtag crew who journey to the isolated Russian province of Tuva.

Director Roko Belic & friends IN PERSON!

“Has to be seen – and heard – to be believed. An amazing cultural, spiritual and physical adventure.” – Andrew Sarris
“Wonderful! Thumbs Up!” — Roger Ebert

Paul Pena (1950–2005) was a blind San Francisco blues musician and songwriter who played with the greats; T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, and Bonnie Raitt. He wrote the Steve Miller hit song “Jet Airliner”. In 1995, he became the first American ever to compete in an unusual contest of multi-harmonic “throatsinging.”

The autonomous Republic of Tuva, wedged between Siberia and Mongolia, for centuries has been isolated from the rest of the world by jagged mountains and Soviet restrictions. At the time, outsiders were barely aware of the Tuvan art form of throatsinging.

Paul taught himself not only throatsinging, but also the Tuvan spoken language by listening to Radio Moscow on his shortwave radio, then spent years incorporating it into his own music. The opportunity to demonstrate his mastery in front of throatsinging champion Kongar-ol Ondar (1962 – 2013) led to his invitation to compete in Tuva. Roko Belic and his brother Adrian joyously jumped into a motley crew of musicologists filmmakers, musicians, and Tuva enthusiasts who banded together to make sure Paul made it to the other side of the world. When it opened in movie theaters, their documentary detailing how a disabled bluesman earned the admiration of the Tuvan people by embracing their culture, the trials and tribulations of the trip and the cross-continental friendships the entire, wacky adventure forged, captured the imagination of audiences, film critics, and recording stars alike.

Today, 20 years after the film won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and then went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, this musically saturated, planet-scampering San Francisco story is recognized as a heartfelt, non-fiction masterpiece and a major influence in bringing the art form of throatsinging into the American consciousness.

“Delivers some deeply felt lessons about cultural values, personal affinities, and how deeply race and disability warp human destiny in the United States”
– B. Ruby Rich, S.F. BAY GUARDIAN.

“An enchanting documentary on a magnificent obsession. A more improbable and endearing yarn can’t be imagined.” -Kenneth Turan, LA TIMES

“An extraordinary guitarist, and a great singer … a bit like Hendrix. [Paul Pena] was hellacious on guitar.” -Bonnie Raitt

“Genghis Blues is a seminal music documentary that is simultaneously fantastical and raw, uniquely capturing the undaunted passion and devotion of a true musician who is willing to follow his dream to the end of the earth.”
– Grammy winner Lili Haydn

Written, directed & edited by Roko Belic. Produced and Shot by Roko and Adrian Belic. Sound Recorded by Lemon DeGeorge. Original Concept for “GENGHIS BLUES” & Associate Producer: Ralph Leighton. 35mm. 1.85:1. Dolby SR. U.S.A. 1999. 88 mins.

Also Showing Wednesday, July 10 at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center!

Roxie Theater trailers play during the 30 minutes prior to showtime.


GENGHIS BLUES - 20th Anniversary (35mm): Upcoming Showtimes
July 96:45 PMBig Roxie