Previously at the ICA - Films
20 Oct 2013
'Don’t you think you’re awfully close to me? I don’t know whether this is a skin commercial, or what…’ There are divas, there are forces of nature, and then there’s Elaine Stritch. This wonderfully entertaining documentary follows the showbiz legend, 87 years young at the time of filming, still wowing audiences on stage and screen while peppering hapless colleagues and cameramen alike (see above quote) with her hilarious, no-frills feistiness.
Despite Stritch’s epic, award-winning career – she debuted on Broadway in 1946 – Chiemi Karasawa’s exceptionally intimate portrait is no nostalgia fest. Rather, the film is, like its subject, present tense: alive with her ongoing professional challenges and personal demons. Heartfelt testimonies from Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and the late, great James Gandolfini confirm her enduring spirit but this is, appropriately, a one-woman show. To paraphrase Ms Stritch’s favourite lyricist Stephen Sondheim: she’s still here. And how.
Dir Chiemi Karasawa. Prod Chiemi Karasawa, Elizabeth Hemmerdinger. USA 2013. 80min. Sales Isotope Films.