By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s Berlin festival film is a beauty. From the archival footage, the light celebratory moments and also the darkest of memories… Tina is a monumental documentary.
From directors Dan Lindsay and T J Martin and screening on HBO in March; Tina debuts at the Berlin Film Festival 2021.
Made with the full cooperation and confidence of Tina Turner, Tina tells the extraordinary life story of one of rock’s greatest icons. The archival footage is kept as a feast for the eye capturing her undeniable talent and her crowd-pleasing hits from 'Proud Mary' to 'What’s Love Got To Do With It'.
Whilst her flair is littered throughout, the whole documentary’s underbelly is about how Tina has overcome such distressing hardship to be the powerhouse she is today. Tina discusses the highs and lows of a private life affected by the violent abuse she suffered at the hands of husband Ike, and how she reinvented herself in the 80s with her glorious freedom and becoming the independent superstar.
Tina, the movie, is anchored by narrations throughout, namely Turner over the years. The recordings from her 1981 People Magazine interview are weaved with present day monologues and accounts, giving you a fascinating insight into the life Tina has lived. It’s a life that has been a rollercoaster of the highest order.
From her devastating upbringing to her tortuous marriage to Ike Turner, the film documents a ‘warts and all’ approach leaving no stone unturned. Whilst documentaries like this can be a difficult watch, it feels nothing but necessary with Tina. Whilst she will never be defined by her abuse, she comments how meeting Ike and her turbulent upbringing made the steely and liberated woman she is today. The tough moments in her life are on full show here but we are also rewarded with her tremendous and outstanding career as the Queen of rock n roll.
The topsy turvy, toing and froing of the film going backward and forwards with the positivity and negativity in Tina’s life is encapsulated by the haunting editing. When it comes to piecing the footage and imagery together, there’s a clear mixture of starkness when the troubling domestic abuse recounts occur, symbolising the fragility and feeling of being alone. But when it’s the random acts of violence that is talked about, the postproduction goes into psychedelic overdrive as the images echo around your head like a multi-coloured whiplash injury.
The different narrations and interviews over the years are interlaced with multiple styles of editing, getting the absolute best out of this feature. It entices you in as it makes you watch her struggles and ultimately how her stardom takes over. She is however, very rarely without her past making an appearance throughout her life, no matter how hard she tried to stop the media talking about it. It’s her slow, powerful rendition of The Beatles’ Help that epitomises what she has had to go through in the limelight. The full three-minute performance is a marvel to behold, and really makes you appreciated just how powerful the lyrics are when sung with such might.
And then, before the final curtain falls on a wonderfully important documentary, Tina Turner herself decides this movie is her bowing out moment. As we take a final look around her Switzerland home, you see all her success on the walls throughout the house, showcasing just what a star we have had on our hands for the last 50 years. Her life is one that will be talked about forever, but it’s her talent that will always shine through; let’s face it… she is simply one of the best.
Cineroom’s rating: 5 stars
Tina debuted at the Berlin Film Festival on 2nd March. Sky Documentaries’ release of the film in the UK and Ireland will be from 28 March.