It's fascinating to look at the life of Johnny Cash from a new angle, even if this documentary feels somewhat self-indulgent and a bit amateurish. But it has a strong father-son kick to it, as filmmaker Jonathan Holiff looks into the story of his dad Saul, and in the process documents an iconic musician's life from an intriguing perspective.
Jonathan barely knew his father, so after Saul died he takes the chance to go through his files. And he discovers not only some startling details about himself but also the remarkable story of his dad's relationship with Johnny Cash, whom he managed for much of his career. It turns out that it was Saul who encouraged Cash to team up with June Carter. And that Saul took the very young Jonathan on the road when Cash went on tour. But Jonathan's most important discovery is a series of audiotape diaries, in which his father talks about him in ways he never did face-to-face.
Yes, in many ways Cash is almost an accidental part of this story. The film traces his life and career through Saul's eyes, including his descent into drugs and his later adoption of fervent Christianity. But Holiff's real focus here is on his own discovery of the father he never really knew. And this is the point of view through which we see the archive footage, which includes rare scenes of Cash and Carter performing, backstage home movies and private photos.
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