María by Callas
Tom Volf, France, 2017o
For the first time, 40 years after her death, the most famous opera singer ever tells her own story – in her own words. Featuring previously unknown footage, unseen photographs, personal Super 8 films, private live recordings, intimate letters and rare behind-the scenes archival footage for the first time in color.
This documentary about arguably the most legendary opera diva of all time relies on archival footage, the visual quality of which is borderline in places, but still unleashes a beguiling magic and narrative pull. The second has to do with the drama-filled life story of Greek-born Maria Callas, which runs from her birth in Manhattan in 1923, through her training and first performances in wartime Athens, her discovery by Italian opera audiences, her breakup at the zenith of her career with the New York Met, to her turbulent relationship with billionaire shipowner Aristotle Onassis in the international jet set of the 1960s and 1970s. The film's main attraction, however, is the melancholically grounded charisma of the world-renowned soprano, which makes all the episodes shine. Callas alone is heard here, and whether she is singing or talking: You don't want it to end.Andreas Furler