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(Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s documentary on the legendary Tina Turner, simply titled Tina, premieres on HBO Saturday, March 27. Like what you see here on Hammer to Nail? Why not give just $1.00 per month via Patreon to help keep us going?)

How does one escape the shadow of torments of the past when much of their global stardom revolves around it as an origin story? That is the quest in the new documentary on Tina Turner simply titled Tina.

The film, directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, had to put together a fresh take on a story known since People Magazine’s story in the 1980s, a successful biography and movie starring Angela Bassett. And like many before, the film starts with Ike. Tina’s ex is best known as her abuser but before that as the first rock n roll recording with Rocket 88 in the 50s was from Clarksdale, MS. as was Tina.

Born Anna Mae Bullock, Tina also saw abuse from her parents until they abandoned her and siblings. With her willingness to sing while still in high school, Ike began to reshape her into a star that he named Tina Turner. But the fame came at a steep price she refused to share with anyone until she escaped. But moving beyond her shadow, the film looks at a woman, steeped in trauma from an early age, and how Buddhism and a little delayed luck along with hard work allowed her to reclaim a name thrust upon her by an abusive husband.

But despite the fame, despite the open and honest relationship she had with her adoring fans and the media, in the end Tina really got the answer of what love had to do with it. For her, ultimately, that love came in the form of Erwin Bach, a man who gave her a ride and after 27 years of dating, married in 2013. A love she sought through many years of feeling alone and unloved she found as she neared age 50.

Perhaps the documentary best serves as a love letter to her fans thanking them for her time in the limelight, Tina closes the final chapter of her public life with joy and love, her mark for true success. The arc of the documentary still remains focused on a survivor, the first African American female to sell out stadiums, and her eventual success post-Ike. But unlike her memoir in 2018, the film does not touch upon her health of recent years or much of her life in Switzerland beyond the love story of her and Bach. And perhaps in 2021, what we needed more was a reminder of her strength, voice and talent for so many years and some pretty stunning concert footage.

– Melanie Addington (@MelAddington)

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Melanie Addington is the Executive Director of Tallgrass Film Association as of 2021. She has worked in the film festival world since 2006, first as a volunteer, and then eventually becoming the Oxford Film Festival Executive Director in August 2015. She used to be a reporter for the Oxford Eagle (a community newspaper) and then Pizza Magazine Quarterly (a global trade magazine). She still loves pizza. And she still writes for Hammer to Nail and Film Festival Today about her other great love: movies. She is from Southern California originally but lived in the South for 20 years. She now resides in Wichita, KS, and has one son.

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