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Movie Info

Altina Schinasi, (1907 - 1999), was a paradox. Simultaneously seductive and reserved, her sheltered upbringing was in sharp contrast to the bold sexuality of her artwork, and she created a fashion sensation in the 1930s with her design for Harlequin eyeglasses. Altina is an affecting, provocative, and richly informative documentary about an American trendsetter-a woman before her time. Free of academic constraints and confident in her keen intellect, she crafted fragments of her life into sculptures that defined her surreal and original world. Her whimsical art was also anchored in social issues: her film on George Grosz took on the Holocaust, earning her an Oscar nomination and winning her the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. She befriended Martin Luther King Jr. and supported his struggle. And during the Red Scare, she did not hesitate to hide John Berry-who was blacklisted for having directed a documentary on the Hollywood Ten-in her Beverly Hills home. As a sculptor, her most original creations were called "chairacters." Exuding Altina's unencumbered feminist sexuality, these large, almost life-size chairs and benches depicted lovers in passionate embrace or turning away from each other to express the absence of love. (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Altina

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

This curiously intimate documentary about artist Altina Schinasi, as told through her myriad marriages, engrosses in its own fittingly slapdash way.

Sep 22, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

An absorbing look at wealth, privilege, creativity and progressive thinking.

Sep 18, 2014 | Full Review…

To Ms. Schinasi's credit, two of her husbands break down in tears on camera while talking about her, and the other two are dead.

Sep 11, 2014 | Full Review…

A joyful portrait, although it doesn't leave out some blemishes.

Sep 9, 2014 | Full Review…

Altina Schinasi was like Peggy Guggenheim-a member of the Jewish haut bourgeoisie who opted for a bohemian life in the arts. Jewish cultural history of a key but neglected figure.

Sep 13, 2014 | Full Review…

It was an amazing life, but surprisingly, it does not register excitingly on film. The approach is uninspired and prosaic, too much the work of a dutiful family member than intensely probing and revelatory.

Sep 12, 2014 | Full Review…

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