Stig Björkman, who last conceived a compelling cinematic portrait of Ingrid Bergman with help from her daughter Isabella Rossellini, leaned on another famous friend, prolific American author Joyce Carol Oates, for his next film. Getting her to do this documentary took years. Bringing us close to Oates and her everyday life and routines, Björkman asks her about recurring themes in her work, but also uses archive footage and older interviews to create a richer portrait. We learn more about her rural upbringing, the grief she suffered after the death of her first husband, and the stories behind some of her most famous novels. Oates’s literary gifts are front and center, but her quietly charming personality is another reason to see the film.
2022-Sweden. 94 min. Color-B/W. Directed by Stig Björkman. Screenplay: Stig Björkman, Dominika Daubenbüchel, Stina Gardell.
Trivia: Sections from Oates’s novels are read by Laura Dern.