The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION London Film Fest
OFFICIAL SELECTION SXSW
"Seductively low-key" -Variety
"Still Bill gives the onetime R&B superstar ample space to air his tough yet warmhearted worldview, and to demonstrate its daily application" -TimeOut NY
"The film is standard biographical technique, transcended: Just about everything in this concise but very full documentary is a little truer, a little warmer, a little wiser and more intuitively right than the average doc. I'm glad I saw it" -Chicago Tribune
½ "Withers seems as close to everyday Zen as I can imagine" -Roger Ebert
Recommended! "Sweet and inevitably bittersweet" -NewCity Chicago
"[A] solid portrait of a fascinating man" -TimeOut Chicago
Singer-songwriter Bill Withers had an unusual path to musical acclaim and he was born an asthmatic stutterer who was often told "you can't do nuthin'." He did not own a guitar until he was 32 years old, the same year he started his musical career -- while keeping his job fabricating toilets for Weber Aircraft, just in case. His first album, 1971's "Just as I Am", came with a hit single, "Ain't No Sunshine", which hit No. 3 on the pop charts. He followed this auspicious start with a string of hits, including "Lean on Me", "Use Me" and "Grandma's Hands". Nine Grammy nominations also rolled in during the next 15 years, with three wins, but in 1985, Bill Withers just stopped. He did not fade entirely from public view -- he was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2005 -- but there were no more albums from this prolific artist.
Still Bill, an intimate and engaging portrait of this music icon, takes its name from Withers's second album, and also answers the questions about who Bill Withers is and where he has been since his music career ended. The filmmakers travel with Withers as he visits his hometown of Slab Fork, West Virginia, to see an old friend, go to his high school reunion, attend a tribute concert held for him and visits his old Navy buddies. A picture of Withers gradually emerges: a family man, a musical perfectionist, a man ready for his next act. Through archival and new concert footage and interviews with music greats, his family and closest friends, the film reveals the man behind the music. Still Bill is not just your standard biopic of a music industry legend, it is an examination of an artist who stopped publishing and performing at the height of his career and a man who wonders whether he still has something to say in today's world.
Directed by Damani Baker and Alex Vlack, U.S.A., 2009, 78 mins.