Americana welcomes Ben Epstein’s debut feature, after presenting his short film Something Like Loneliness, directed with his brother Seth, in 2020. On this occasion, Epstein introduces us to Eli Cody, also known as Buck Alamo, a timeworn country singer who tries to make peace with his friends and family now that he’s on the brink of death. But, like any roaming artist who spent his life going from one place to another, things are not that easy for old Buck.
Played by Sonny Carl Davis, a living legend of American music turned actor in the 80s, Buck Alamo is a worn down character, an old dog from Trump’s America, a cowboy who goes from stage to stage with his acoustic guitar and raspy voice.
Epstein does not give old Buck the tenderness of Lucky (John Carroll Lynch) nor the sullen aura of Blaze (Ethan Hawke). Instead, he creates an easygoing and sociable character constantly running away from Death (portrayed by Bruce Dern and his bone-chilling voice), and using the power of his voice and his music to convince those around him of his good intentions (among them, Richard Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, who we saw growing up in Boyhood).
With a dreamlike montage that blends the spiritual with the earthly, the black and white with colors, Buck Alamo proves that Ben Epstein is a filmmaker with a strong aesthetic commitment and a powerful voice from Southern America. Spanish premiere at Americana Film Festival.