Ah yes, it’s showing in Netflix and good news, since in our country has now netflix.. So you can watch it there. Anyway.. If you asked me, how I end up being a fan of Nina Simone these days? Blame David Lynch. Just kidding.. Anyway, after that one song, and my fave song of hers, which is Sinnerman, I was surprised that she sang I mean from end of 50’s till the 70’s especially with the civil rights movement.
Anyway, this documentary became an instant classic to me and very good treat to not only to her fans but audiophile or music fans alike. There was only one thing I hope they improved on, I hope they focused a bit more, how she done it, or how she was able to create music even the only training she had was doing classical music. Like how she created Sinnerman or Pirate Jenny?
But other than that, it’s a fantastic documentary. 3 things I loved in this documentary.. First was the flow of the documentary. I mean, from where she born until the end, no mix or jumping scene except for the first scene. I love the transition they made for her story. As they unravel each important events in her life, there was always an interesting fact about her. I was surprised that she became an activist and one of the reasons, she left US was not due tax evasion, but she just gave up in the US after all her civil rights friends died one by one. Most surprising of all, no singing training for her. I mean, she just sang because she needed to earn working in a crummy club as she said. Wow, sheer talent and genius.
Another factor I loved this documentary, was the audio recordings or archival interviews done straight from her. At the course of this docu, with her answers in the interviews, you’ll understand her as more of a person. Not the artist or singer but how she lived, thinks and yes, view life. Although it was proven that she lived as Nina Simone 24/7, she still shown as a normal person and worse, a very broken, depressed person. I love the parts which shown her letters and some footages on how she performs. Despite her strict rules and uncontrollable rhythm, her prescence in the stage indeed a worth to see and most importantly, to hear.
Lastly, I loved the interviews done to the people around her. Although I hoped they interviewed more artists, especially those she inspired.. It was very sad yet inspiring. Give credit to Lisa, Nina’s only daughter of telling most of the meat of this documentary, even some parts of it she admit, she had bad feelings towards Nina but she still felt proud and love her mom. How about the parts of her ex-husband, her former band mates and some friends who not only close to her but also helped her especially for her second coming. I was very sad at the part where Nina exiled in France with no money and only working for a couple of hundred bucks in a crappy bar.. She was almost done but great thing, she was saved and helped her to cope her mental/psychological illness. That part was also interesting and shocking to me. Great thing, she rised up and you can see at the last part of the film, she was like a goddess that despite she is not that great anymore due to her age, just her name and presence, will flock the venue. The only person I can think who can do that today, Morrissey.. Damn if you also look how she perform with the piano, a living legend. That’s what happens if you play the piano since 4 yrs old. Damn..
Well, this year, it was a lot of great music documentaries. Count in Kurt Cobain, then this one and yes, the one I should watch is Amy. All of them, troubled, depressed, fame consumed them type of story.. But Nina stands out not only she was able to handle the demons inside her, but also.. As she says, she feels free when she see a piano in front of her.
That title above, a very fitting title.. Especially if you are a new fan of hers.
All of them answered empathically in this documentary. I’ll listen more of her songs perhaps.
By the way, I love Sinnerman as the ending song, even it was cut short. =)
I just hope she did not change her real name, Eunice. Not bad right?