Speaking in Strings | Chicago Reader

Speaking in Strings

Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's big personality may account for her loneliness and alienation and for the mixed reviews she's received—some critics think she imposes her own emotions too flagrantly on the music she plays. Though it gets personal, this technically uninspired documentary—heavy on voice-overs and talking heads—is often coy. Several scenes allude to Salerno-Sonnenberg's disappointment at the loss of a love relationship, but the identity of her ex is only hinted at—even though all kinds of other intimate things are revealed, including an attempted suicide sensationalized by being telegraphed. The publicity materials say filmmaker Paola di Florio has known Salerno-Sonnenberg since both were children, yet the movie conveys little sense of a connection, as if di Florio had made it mainly because she had access to a celebrity.

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