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|A provocative Southern tale set in rural Alabama in the late 1950s, Hounddog is the story of a spirited young girl, Lewellen (Dakota Fanning) and her struggle to rise above the repression that surrounds her.|
Lewellen lives with her stern grandmother, Grammie (Piper Laurie), but spend most of her time with her much-adored Daddy (David Morse) in his dilapidated shack. Daddy's wild side is tempered by his beautiful but troubled girlfriend, Ellen (Robin Wright Penn) who has a mysterious history but calming influence on the lonely, young girl. Lewellen is deeply talented and finds comfort and safety, as well as a place to put her hurt and rage, in the music of Elvis Presley. When Elvis Presley comes to town for a concert, Lewellen falls into a compromising situations that steals her innocence and leaves her feeling even more alone and hopeless.
It is up to the caretaker, Charles (Afemo Omilanmi) to help Lewellen overcome the wounding of her sprit and save her soul. He teaches her to use The Blues to turn her tragedy into a gift...bringing light out of darkness and hope out of adversity.
"Dakota Fanning gives an absolutely riveting performance. A triumph. The Hollywood Reporter
"Powerful and memorable...a career defining role for Dakota Fanning. The New York Times
Editor's NoteHOUNDDOG is writer-director Deborah Kampmeier's controversial story of lost innocence set in rural Alabama in the 1950s. Heavy with the dank, rustic hues of the South, the film is a powerfully vivid and imagistic portrayal of the power of music to overcome the greatest of obstacles. The superbly accomplished child star Dakota Fanning turns in the performance of her career as Lewellen, a tomboy who finds escape from her life with a sternly religious grandmother (Piper Laurie) and a brutish, alcoholic father (David Morse) with her dreams of singing with her idol, Elvis Presley. Lewellen's best friend, Buddy (Cody Hanford), reveals that Elvis will be performing in their town, and the pair scheme to see the show. Before long, Lewellen's guileless impersonations of Elvis's provocative, hip-swiveling "Hounddog" become misconstrued, and she becomes a victim of the lecherous advances of an older teen with promises of a concert ticket. While HOUNDDOG occasionally gets heavy-handed with Biblical allusions--snakes and torrential rains appear repeatedly in the film--the story is, ultimately, a redemptive one; the performances--especially Fanning's--are believable and serve the story well. And thanks to the gentle guidance of a local medicine man (Afemo Omilami), our young protagonist learns that the rock & roll she loves has deep roots in the blues, and like all great blues music, comes out of overcoming the deep sorrow of life's tribulations.
Cast & Crew
|Deborah Kampmeier - Screenwriter|
|Jim Denault - Director of Photography|
|Jen Gatien - Producer|
|Scott Franklin - Producer|
|Terry Leonard - Producer|
|Meshell Ndegéocello - Music|
|Deborah Kampmeier - Producer|
|Lawrence Robbins - Producer|
|Deborah Kampmeier - Director|
Sundance Film Festival (2007)
|Deborah Kampmeier, Nominee, Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic|
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