Hanway Films

Warming by the Devil's Fire

Warming by the Devil's Fire

The Blues Collection


Chris Burnett

Ray Charles
Eric Clapton


Featuring: Big Bill Broonzy, Reverend Gary Davis, Ida Cox, Willie Dixon, W.C. Handy, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Vasti Jackson, Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Victoria Spivey, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson.

Growing up between LA and Missippis, torn between a mother who loved the blues and a grandmother who believed it was the devil's music, Charles Burnett used his own childhood as inspiration for his film. Mixing fictional storytelling with documentary footage, it tells the tale of a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in 1955, and the tension between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues.

Says Burnett: "The sound of the blues was a part of my environment that I took for granted. However, as years passed, the blues slowly emerged as an essential source of imagery, humor, irony and insight that allows one to reflect on the human condition. I always wanted to do a story on the blues that not only reflected its nature and its content but also alludes to the form itself. In short, a story that gives you the impression of the blues."

US | English | 2003 | 103 mins