HER STORY. HER VOICE.
The Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011) director takes on another troubled celebrity and cultural phenomenon in this lauded documentary. Made in collaboration with Nina Simone’s family, the film celebrates the artist’s musical talents but doesn’t avoid her dark sides, including the abusive marriage, her bipolar disorder and how she treated her daughter Lisa. Among the interviews, Lisa’s testimony is particularly valuable. The film gives us an understanding of what drove Nina Simone, from how she was introduced to Bach as a child and how she went from being a concert pianist to an artist who went through a political awakening in the 1960s and eventually left the country for Europe. Well-made and compelling; we get close to Simone, or perhaps as close as we can.
2015-U.S. 101 min. Color-B/W. Produced by Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Jayson Jackson, Justin Wilkes. Directed by Liz Garbus.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Simone’s daughter Lisa.
Last word: “I certainly look for films that are going to tell stories that are not just historical or important in terms of their legacy, but are also meaningful in terms of our lives today. She was speaking a certain truth that still needs to be spoken today. And then, when we were editing the film and there were tanks rolling down the street to Ferguson, Missouri, we were cutting in the same images from the civil rights movement from decades before.” (Garbus, Decider)