Archives / 2009 Sundance Film Festival

White Lightnin'

Director: Dominic Murphy

Screenwriters: Eddy Moretti, Shane Smith

Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Some people spend their whole lives running from who they really are, but Jesco White (Edward Hogg) uses tap dancing to keep his demons at bay. At the tender age of six, he started getting high by huffing gasoline and stolen lighter fluid. Growing up, Jesco often found himself shuffling between reform schools, work camps, and his home in West Virginia—until his father, famous mountain dancer D. Ray White, taught him how to tap. After his father's murder, Jesco begins to dance to control his increasingly wicked ways. Wearing his late father's tap shoes, he takes his show on the road, where he meets Cilla (Carrie Fisher), the love of his life. Sadly, Jesco's troubled past doesn't stay gone for long, and we are forced to bear witness to the dual powers of revenge and redemption, and the bone-chilling lengths that he will go to have both.

White Lightnin' is a phantasmagoric tumble into the dark corners of artistic genius, addiction, and insanity that is set to an aptly kinky soundtrack. Inspired by the life of Jesco White, "the dancing outlaw," director Dominic Murphy creates a cleverly stylized portrait that is nothing short of sensational.

— Jennifer Cochis

Screening Details

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