The Amazing Nina Simone (FIPA 2015):

A woman on the edge of a volcano
By Murielle Barthe

Eklektika Magazine
January 30, 2015

At FIPA in Biarritz, the documentary about Nina Simone was a moment

of grace, a shocking declaration of love to this extraordinary woman.

Like Robert Redford at his Sundance Film Festival, we must prepare for the agony and ecstasy of the films that are not produced by the major studios.

This was the case at FIPA in Biarritz with the documentary by Jeff L. Lieberman, The Amazing Nina Simone. Wanting to examine and report on the volcanic life Nina Simone - without having managed to raise the necessary financial amount - presaged the worst. But it is a very ambitious project that left the audience in ecstasy.

The Synopsis:
During the 1960s, with a unique style and musical proclamations like Mississippi Goddam, Nina Simone became a star in the United States for her uncompromising vision of black freedom. Today, 11 years after her death, Nina is more popular than ever. With new perspectives on her failed career as a classical pianist, her worldwide recognition thanks to jazz, southern segregation, civil rights, and her exile in France, the film captures the legacy of a singular artist.

Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, a small black girl who faced the challenges of segregation became a piano prodigy, mentored by her teacher Mrs Mazzy, a white woman who did not see color, only talent.

And because Eunice was refused admission at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Eunice became Nina Simone, one of the most beautiful voices, a singer and an extraordinary, and incomparable pianist.

Competing in the category "Music and Performance," The Amazing Nina Simone is one of the most comprehensive documentaries, revealing many unknown facts about this famous singer.

Journalist & Director of the documentary, RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria, Jeff Lieberman has done extensive work here, revisiting the places, retracing the events and meeting those still alive who knew and loved Nina Simone.

This is a respectful and respectable documentary that examines a woman who was different depending upon the moment and event.  Her brother, Sam, says that she inhabited seven different personalities.  And nobody will be surprised by this revelation.

A classical pianist, a singer of jazz/folk/soul/blues, an activist, a woman, a black woman, an icon, but also always a mystery.

The fierce determination of a woman who didn’t stop fighting against manic depression (undiagnosed) and civil rights is a hero who always stood up to adversity, for the rights of blacks, and a pioneer of Black Freedom.

Her voice, her talent were the only weapons she used to fight. A poignant moment in the film is her concert at Carnegie Hall, in front of a mostly white audiences when she proclaimed "Mississippi Goddam" after the death of four black girls in the explosion of a church in Birmingham.

Jeff Lieberman has shown courage and determination.

This was clearly a long and hard amount of work, leading to a nice mix of archival footage, interviews, new footage, and archival photos and films.

But the documentary is there. To stay.

And it is above all a shocking declaration of love.

Despite leaving us in 2003, Nina Simone sends us beyond time.

No known distribution of this documentary on French channels.


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