The film "Ghost Song" recently made waves in the festival circuit thanks to its atmospheric portrayal of young people in Houston living on the "fringes" and how they hope to attain inner peace and even redemption. It tells the story of rapper and recording artist OMB Bloodbath, who hails from the city's culturally black-heritage-rich Third Ward district and is on an introspective inner journey as she buries a friend. We also meet Will and Nate, two rich Houstonians that have all been disowned by their wealthy families as they struggle with their addictions. This occurs amidst the backdrop of Houston, a city of many contradictions.
Houston, Texas, is home to NASA, parks, and bayous, and it also gave the world Beyonce. But as with many big cities, the crime rate is exceptionally high, and of course, there are also frequent storms and flooding. It is a city for movers and shakers, and where it is also very easy to get swallowed by its seedy drug-lined underbelly and other social issues. In this urban chaos, our three unlikely protagonists struggle to make it and survive. There seems to be an unspoken and subdued desperation to create a new life, underscored by music and chemical-fueled hallucinogenic escapes.
Will belongs to a wealthy Houston family, and he is the scion of wealthy oil barons, yet despite that, he does not belong with them and is desperate to find his place in the sun. His struggle is extremely real, and he uses music to escape how he has been excluded, along with his buddy Nate, who is battling to end his addictions.
Alexandra, also known as OMB Bloodbath, is a rapper from the Third Ward, the birthplace of superstar Beyoncé, visionary director Wes Anderson in particular, and George Floyd, her uncle and mentor. His death sparked the #Blacklivesmatter movement when, in 2020, the 46-year-old black man was brutally murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer, on camera, while making the arrest.
This hint of violence comes out when Bloodbath shares that her friend Kenny Lou, has been murdered, another casualty of gang warfare. She was also injured in a similar shooting and is trying to extricate herself and move on from her violent past. It is a bit more challenging than expected, as she finds her quest for a fresh start potentially compromised.
While Will and Alexandra don't ever cross paths in the narrative, their similar concerns, challenges and self-introspection are linked by music, and there is a lot of it, from the blues, rap, and jazz to hip-hop and gospel. Opera sets the stage for another impending hurricane that will soon hit the city, adding to the heavy, humid atmosphere, not only of the film but what will soon come to pass.
And that is a statement right there, that there is no escaping from the coming storm. It is inevitable, despite everyone's best efforts, just like the existing social system found within Houston.
Directed by: Nicolas Peduzzi