Huie's Sermon documents a lengthy sermon delivered by a charismatic evangelical African-American preacher to his Brooklyn congregation. With the exception of some shots grounding the film in a Brooklyn slum, the film consists solely of a fervently delivered sermon.
A reviewer on IMDb.com wrote:
James Brown eat your heart out
'Huies Predigt' (Huie's Sermon) was made the same year that John Landis released 'The Blues Brothers'. I would love to know if one of these productions had any influences on the other... maybe it's just a happy coincidence.
Reverend Huie is the real life Cleophus James (played by James Brown in 'The Blues Brothers'. This short lasts for the entire length of the reverend's sermon, filmed in front of a live congregation in the reverends hometown of Brooklyn. This really is documentary in its rawest form... as the single camera shot tracks the manic reverend from a safe distance for the entire length of his sermon. As Huie escalates into an ever increasing incomprehensible frenzy, I couldn't help but wonder how it was all going to end.
Apart from a few establishing and end shots the entire documentary is spent tracking the reverend in a couple of single shot takes. In the middle of the sermon Herzog cuts to a few shots of the run down Brooklyn streets and derelict buildings that contain the home's of Huie's all black congregation (giving Herzog time to reload his single camera).
I was lucky enough to see this and two other documentaries projected in one session. This was the last short shown, and by this point several members of the audience got up and left mid way through before the sermon had ended. I would recommend sticking this out, as although difficult to make out at points, the sermon is quite fascinating and Huie's views worth hearing. This is definitely preaching old school style. The reverend discusses the problems on the street that Herzog has shown us, but also attacks topics as far ranging as energy saving devices to sex change operations.
BTW, look out for the disciples on hand throughout the sermon at stage side, equipped with towels to help mop the reverend down.
Here are some screenshots (taken at actual resolution, of course.
Click each pic for full size):
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