Artist. Film maker. Ground breaker. All of these terms apply quite well to famed figure Altina. Most people probably don’t know who Altina was or is. Even those within the art world’s tighter circles might not be entirely familiar with her work and her legacy. Now thanks to First Run Features, this landmark woman has been given the respect that she so rightfully deserves within that world’s history. Her life and legacy have finally been presented in First Run Features’ new documentary simply titled Altina. Audiences will most appreciate about Altina the fact that Altina’s life and legacy were presented in full. Audiences see every aspect of her life as told by those that were closest to her. Nothing is held back in their stories, including her apparently strong sexual appetite. The stories told by her fourth husband about her appetite will leave audiences laughing uproariously. The stories of her humility will move those same audiences. There is even footage containing interviews with Altina before her passing that will entertain audiences just as much. The stories shared by Altina and those closest to her are collectively a big part of what makes this documentary a must see for lovers of art of all ages. Also incorporated into the presentation are shots of pieces that Altina painted and sculpted. They serve to show just how much Altina stood out from the rest of the artists within her world. Last worth noting is the juxtaposition of the feature’s pacing to its run time. Altina runs roughly eighty minutes. Within the course of that run time, those charged with bringing the whole thing to life manage to keep audiences fully engaged with the documentary’s mix of stories and pictures. The end result is a pacing that loses audiences at not even one point, thus proving why Altina is a piece that any lover of art and/or art history should see at least once.
Altina is a documentary that is very much a niche presentation. It is a work that any lover of art and/or at history should see at least once. That is regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Altina and her legacy within the art world. The central reason for such enjoyment is the documentary’s collections of stories. Stories of Altina’s life and legacy are shared by those closest to her including both her friends and her family. There are also stories shared by Altina through archived interviews with her that were recorded before her passing in 1999. The stories culled for the program will at times leave audiences laughing. At other times, they will find themselves rather moved by the discussions of her upbringing and her personal humility throughout her life. Time and again, those interviewed for this documentary make note of her appreciation of everyone and her general love of life and of people. She apparently had quite the love of a certain adult activity, too. She had a love for said activity even into her older years, which when audiences hear this, will leave them laughing. That’s especially the case when audiences learn not only of her appetite but also of her alleged stamina. Simply put, what audiences learn through the collected stories is that unlike so many artists before her, after her, and even unlike her counterparts of the time, Altina was completely unlike other well-known names within the art world. As a matter of fact, the stories presented here paint a picture of a woman that was the total antithesis of the stereotype that surrounded (and still surrounds today) most art figures. Just knowing that there was at least one figure that defied that stereotype makes her endearing to audiences again regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the woman, her life, and legacy.
The stories that are shared about and by Altina throughout the course of her new bio by themselves make Altina well worth the watch by any lover of art and/or art history. They are made even more interesting when set against the pictures of Altina’s work. Those charged with working on the documentary include pictures of benches, chairs, and even some paintings and a skate, illustrating the breadth of her talent. It showed the versatility of her talents. And when coupled with the bio’s stories, the pictures in question gain a whole new life and depth. The benches and chairs for instance are discussed by Altina’s fourth husband. He explains how the pair worked on a numberof them together. It goes to show the love that the pair had for their craft and for one another. In turn, it shows the true love that the couple shared, even with his being her fourth husband (unofficially as audiences will learn in his interviews). The detail and the colors in all of Altina’s creations set them apart from so much artwork of its time. And incomparison to works created both before and after, that attention to detail continues to make them stand out even today. Having such understand showsonce again why Altina itself stands out, too as a documentary. The coupling of her art and the stories surrounding said art makes Altina all the more enjoyable for any lover of art and/or art history.
Those charged with bringing Altina to life for audiences are to be applauded for their efforts. The program presents quite a bit of information on Altina’s life and legacy from start to finish. Audiences are never left feeling lost at any one point, either. That is thanks to the fact that all of the material shared over the course of the bio’s eighty-minute run time was so well balanced. The balance in question created a solid pacing that will keep audiences engaged from start to finish. And even at eighty minutes, that pacing doesn’t feel to be too much. It is the last touch to a documentary that stands out just as much as the subject featured at its center. Together with the documentary’s stories and their companion pictures, the program’s pacing and run time solidify Altina as a piece well worth the watch by any student or lover of art and/or art history.
Altina is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from First Run Features’ online store at http://firstrunfeatures.com/altina.html. More information on this and other releases from First Run Features is available online now at:
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