Director: Chiemi Karasawa
Year Released: 2013
Riveting, up-close portrait of one of the female icons of American theater, Elaine Stritch, who gives director Karasawa full access to record her going about her day, walking around NYC with no pants (or skirt) on and pontificating on such things as sex, alcohol and mastering her craft. Like the fantastic documentary on another brash figure in entertainment - Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg - this is a forceful portrayal of an eccentric, hard-working female figure who spent decades in an incredibly competitive industry and retained her individuality: yes, she's battled problems with alcohol and diabetes - and, being an actress, is prone to diva moments - but she's very real and very sharp, even in her late 80's (sadly, she passed away in 2014 at the age of 89). As personal aside, my maternal grandmother - who I lived with for most of my life - is the same way: sassy, talkative and, for the most part, quite direct (with the occasional fibs and exaggerations, a la Ms. Stritch). Must be a generational thing....