Sweet and Lowdown

Sweet and Lowdown is a movie in the genre of tragicomedy. It was produced in the USA in 1999. Directed by Woody Allen.


"Sweet and Lowdown " is Woody Allen's tribute to the swing era. It tells the life of fictional jazz guitarist Emmet Ray, a bully and drunkard, the rats shoots in his spare time on the municipal rubbish dump. Only if the gifted Emmet Ray picks up the guitar, he can melt women's hearts and reconciles the organizers with his escapades. This Django Reinhardt is on his idol.

The red line is Ray's relationship with the mute laundress Hattie. The narcissistic musician girl uses indifferent to their feelings. Finally, he throws it away, to take on the glamorous would-be writer Blanche, which in turn leaves him because of a professional killer. One day he comes his nemesis Django Reinhardt apparently (in fact it is a joke) dangerously close, but he escaped by flight. Much later, the injured musician looks for Hattie and must learn that sometimes do not heal broken hearts and there is not always a second chance in love (see the similar basic constellation in Fellini's La Strada ).

The action is often interrupted by interviews with witnesses of the jazz era. In part, it is little known but real jazz musician. This documentary style creates a complex and sometimes contradictory picture. The interviews underline the message that artists as people sometimes are a difficult could cope with disappointment, and the beauty of art does not necessarily reflect the character of the artist.

In a key scene Blanche Ray asks what he because actually think while playing his wonderful music. The guitarist says frankly that he often thinks about how badly he is paid for his music. It is not the only irritation that leaves the character of the fictional guitarists in the audience. Still, it manages all the sound humorous and to keep passing. Sean Penn gives the macho guitarists as thoroughly honest and completely unreflective people acting. And the guitarist Howard Alden lends him his "voice".


"Woody Allen's homage to the Swing offers narrative and visual elegance that blend in with the music to an atmospherically moody time image. Sean Penn delivers the excellent representation of a narcissistic bully and womanizer whose emotional expression beyond the music remain very limited until he learns pain and loss in his own body. A very enjoyable piece of cinema. "

"Such a representation [ as that of Samantha Morton ] I have not seen in years. [ ... ] The whole movie [ ... ] a silent reminder of that this era is long gone and there is no turning back. "


"Sweet and Lowdown " is not the first fictional biography in the work of Woody Allen. As early as 1969 he published his mockumentary "Woody, the unlucky " about the petty criminals Virgil Starkwell, embodied the Allen himself.

Technically far more complex was " Zelig " (1983). Numerous newsreel footage from archive materials were elaborately machined to leave (again played by Allen himself) appear the fictional Leonard Zelig as a well-known personality in the 1920s.


  • Best Actor: Sean Penn
  • Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton
  • Best Actor (Musical / Comedy ): Sean Penn
  • Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton
  • Best British Actress Samantha Morton