This documentary of novelist, critic and public intellectual Susan Sontag is rich with insight and biographical details about the defining impact on her life and work of key relationships with several highly accomplished women.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
Documentaries about well-known public figures can often feel like glorified infomercials. But this portrait of the influential writer and public intellectual somehow manages to do justice to both the breadth of her work (with passages from her writing read by Patricia Clarkson) as well as the ins and outs of her personal life, including her long-term lesbian relationships at a time when homosexuality was still seen as problematic even among the liberal intelligentsia. That director Nancy Kates manages to hit so many important pivot points in Sontag’s life and career in a cinematically engaging way feels like a small miracle.” — Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine.
“Sharp as a scalpel in print and often as prickly in person, Sontag was the last of the dazzling New York intellectuals – to many, her name is still incendiary. (A courageous essay published only days after September 11, 2001, incited citywide fury.) Nancy D. Kates’ profile does well by the early years, critical texts and novels, but gets even further into the writer’s evolving private persona: unsatisfied, unbowed, unapologetic.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out NY