By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
During the 1950s and 60s, Greek-American operatic soprano Maria Callas became a world renown singer. Known for her beautiful voice, but better known for her tempestuous attitude, Callas’s extracurricular activities would eventually overshadow her incredible singing talent. If one were to ask Maria about her troubles and scandals, the stong-willed singer would defend herself by explaining that her troubles resulted from the actions of people who didn’t want her to succeed by her own terms. This documentary by director Tom Volf attempts to tell her story from her perspective through her own words.
And Volf’s film does accomplish this to a limited level. Through archive recordings of interviews with Callas l, mixed with some of her better performances, the filmmaker offers some insight into the mindset of a strong woman who fought hard to be in charge of her career. However, she fought even harder to find happiness in her personal life. One must remember that Callas worked and performed during an era where men dominated the arts and entertainment industry, including the opera world. Men also often dominated in romantic relationships during the time and Callas was even more defiant when it came to romantic power play.
As someone who was quite unfamiliar with the singer and career, I found myself quite captivated and intrigued with her story. Still, as I processed the film I watched, I came to the realization that it probably doesn’t offer much more to fans or people very familiar with her story. The film gives Callas a voice to be heard during modern times and does celebrate her talent well, but a more comprehensive and insightful documentary is definitely what would appease a wider audience.
Still, I must moderately recommend this film for those interested in artists, but would give a stronger recommendation to women. Callas is a shining example of a strong woman who boldly stood up to men of various capacities in her life. Though women have come a long way since, future generations could go even further.