(2015, English and Hebrew) A stunning documentary by filmmaker Ido Haar of a singing Cinderella story in which the glass slipper is YouTube videos of songs. A 38-year-old caretaker of elderly residents in a New Orleans facility, Samantha Montgomery reimagines herself as Princess Shaw speaking of her feelings ("Not easy to be alone with myself") or vocalizing a song she's composed for a session on YouTube. Her hair dyed red, orthodontic braces on her teeth, she sometimes performs at open-mic venues with few patrons.
On the kibbutz Tze'elim in Negev, Israel, Ophir Kutiel, a composer and video artist who goes by Kutiman, "creates visual symphonies using random YouTube footage uploaded by people from all over the world" who are unaware of their inclusion as participants in the mash-up of clips. Internationally known through articles published in The New York Times and elsewhere, Kutiman does not communicate with those he samples in his collages nor does he sell the products of his silent collaborations.
The documentary opens with a showing of his videos at the Guggenheim Museum. After discovering Princess Shaw's a cappella songs, recorded through her smartphone, Kutiman adds instrumental accompaniment of keyboards, guitar, percussion, xylophone, trombone, strings, or whatever else he decides appropriate.
Online Princess Shaw shares with her invisible audience disappointment at not getting into The Voice competition, relates how the tires on her car were stolen, narrates her eight-year relationship with girlfriend Olivia ("my muse"); she also recites from her autobiography of guilt, shame, violation, writing about being physically and sexually abused as a child. Nevertheless, she regularly calls her mother, the formerly cruel, unprotective parent.
Believing she's not progressing musically in New Orleans, Samantha takes a Greyhound bus to Atlanta, staying with a relative, to check out possibilities in the "new Motown." There by chance she learns of Kutiman's remake of her song "Give It Up," listening to the cantata from the original sampling, with 7,900 views. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoHxoz_0ykI
More than a million views (in excess of 2.9 million as of this writing) later, Kutiman invites her to Israel for a live performance with him and his musicians.
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