‘Regarding Susan Sontag’ documents the life of a legendary American voice. Her name alone is polarizing; she was a subversive writer, filmmaker, feminist, and cultural icon that never aimed to please anyone but herself and still managed to get the world’s attention. So, yeah, it’s no secret that I’m a fan and that’s reason enough to go into a documentary about her life with a healthy skepticism and a critical eye. Further, I typically find chronological biography’s a bit mundane but, with a subject that has been a student of every medium that has crossed her path, her life ebbs and shifts from fascination to ambition with such sincere passion that I was engaged from beginning to end.
Director Nancy D. Kates has whittled together still photographs and archival footage, along with interviews from Sontag’s friends, family, and an extensive list of lovers (both male & female), and has found a way, through copious recordings and essays, to let the subject tell her own story. Her death from cancer in 2004 was not just a tragedy for us, her audience and students, but for her as well; she was insatiably desperate for life – to live it and reflect on it – and this film perfectly explores that passion giving genuine weight to our loss.
Avid film geek with an art-house leaning but a love for all things cinema, David graduated from the American International University of London with a degree in film production and has spent the last 10 years ‘chasing the cinema dragon’ through the United Kingdom and Los Angeles working as a field producer and writer. He now resides in Austin, Texas where he is a constant presence at the Alamo Drafthouse, a regular contributor to media blogs, and has assisted in the programming of the South by Southwest Film Festival since 2012.