I was fortunate enough to get an email yesterday that alerted me to a one-time movie showing, which happened to only be a few blocks away at the Brooks Museum. I hadn’t even heard of the film, called Nobody, before that, and I’m really glad I got to see it.
Nobody is about a man named Jerry Bell that floated from Indiana to Memphis on an inflatable raft, earned by smoking 20,000 cigarettes. After barely making it to Memphis, he hangs around the city for several years, occasionally earning money to continue the journey down to New Orleans. The documentary recreates his trip from Indiana to Memphis, but the best parts of the movie cover Jerry’s time in Memphis, much of which was shot in pure observational style. The film allows a rare look at American society’s “untouchables,” all within the framework of one man’s struggle to survive.
Nobody is playing at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC, on Sunday, and while the movie hasn’t been picked up for distribution yet, it seems like only a matter of time. While much of the photographic symbolism was over the top and there were some sound issues, the movie was beautifully shot and the story is haunting. Hats off to the filmmakers, Lance Murphey and Alan Spearman, for taking the time to craft this story into such a compelling narrative.
If Nobody isn’t coming to show at your town, consider ordering the DVD from the website, particularly if you are familiar with Memphis. The Commercial Appeal also covered the premiere in this article.