Dee Rees · USA 2015 · E/d · 135 min
Swiss Premiere Feature film
«Bessie» is the story of legendary blues performer, Bessie Smith (1894–1937), who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s. She and her siblings are orphaned when their parents, William and Laura, die, leaving their oldest sister, Viola, to raise them. Bessie scrape by working for local vaudeville shows, but her ambitions are frustrated by producers unwilling to feature dark-skinned black women. Ma Rainey takes Bessie under her wing and helps her develop her abilities. Finally Bessie leaves to start her own show. In addition to her lover Lucille, Bessie begins a tumultuous relationship with Jack Gee, a security guard who later becomes her husband and manager. An intriguing portrait from the emerging filmmaker Dee Rees («Pariah»).