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Sweet and Lowdown

Sweet and Lowdown is a 1999 American comedy-drama mockumentary film written and directed by Woody Allen. Loosely based on Federico Fellini's film La Strada, the film tells the fictional story, set in the 1930s, of a self-confident jazz guitarist Emmet Ray (played by Sean Penn) who falls in love with a mute woman (Samantha Morton). The film also stars Uma Thurman and Anthony LaPaglia. Like several of Allen's other films (e.g., Zelig), the film is occasionally interrupted by interviews with critics and biographers like Allen, Nat Hentoff, and Douglas McGrath, who comment on the film's plot as if the characters were real-life people.

Plot

Emmet Ray (Sean Penn) is a jazz guitarist who achieved some acclaim in the 1930s with a handful of recordings for RCA Victor, but who faded from public view under mysterious circumstances. Though a talented musician, Ray's personal life is a shambles. He is a spendthrift, womanizer and pimp who believes that falling in love will ruin his musical career. Due to his heavy drinking, he's often late or even absent for performances with his quintet. After music, his favorite hobby is shooting rats at garbage dumps. Ray idolizes famed guitarist Django Reinhardt, and is said to have fainted in his presence and to have fled a nightclub performance with severe stage fright upon hearing a false rumor that Reinhardt was in the audience.