Tina Turner’s life – a life marked by both dark tragedy and triumphant success – has been well documented over the years. There was the 1981 People magazine story that first revealed the terror and abuse she suffered in a long marriage to musical partner Ike Turner; the 1987 biography Me, Tina she co-wrote with MTV journalist Kurt Loder; the 1993 Oscar-nominated biopic based on that book, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, with Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne; and the jukebox musical Tina which premiered in London’s West End in 2018 before moving to Broadway.
This weekend’s new HBO documentary Tina, however, the celebrated 81-year-old singer will be his final curtain call before she quietly slips out of the public eye for good – or at least intends, judging by her own comments in the winding-down minutes of the poignant and poignant project that was directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker duo Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (Undefeated, LA 92
In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Lindsay and Martin admitted there was “definite hesitation” in following those other mediums in telling Turner’s story, but they had no intention of making the film a pure exploration of her trauma. to make.
“But during the early conversations with Tina we came to realize that trauma is still very much present in her life, it is always bubbling beneath the surface,” says Martin. “We didn’t have to bring up Ike in our first conversations with her. It came up naturally. And she told us that if she thinks about it too much or has to talk about her past, Ike will come to her in her dreams – or nightmares, really. And it feels like these things happened yesterday. “
Tina takes what the directors describe as a meta-approach to the violence and struggles Turner endured in her life. In the first minutes, it immediately delves into the topic, and the first half of the film focuses on her partnership and 16-year marriage to Ike, who died in 2007. As the duo Ike & Tina Turner, the woman was born Anna Mae Bullock’s early career is synonymous with her ex, and the 81-year-old describes how she survived the torture in that relationship – the abuse of not only Ike’s hands, but also of shoe stretchers, coat hangers and boiling hot coffee, and the sex she describes as “sort of rape.”
“Tina is open and willing to talk about things, she’s just very aware of the impact it can have on her personally to talk about certain chapters in her life,” says Lindsay. “She’s very honest about her own story,” adds Martin. “She’s just doing her best to live a very healthy and peaceful life.”
The film changes meta when, in the second half, a section is devoted to the frustrations Turner faced as she was constantly haunted by personal questions about her past – as evidenced by some very awkward old interview excerpts, including one where she was next to her. sits. to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome co-star Mel Gibson. As her husband Erwin Bach puts it, it’s as if Turner had been in the fray, and the PTSD haunts her every day, not to mention memories of a troubled childhood in a tenant Tennessee family that was also scarred by domestic violence. .
“It wasn’t a good life,” Turner says in the film. “It was in some areas, but the good outweighed the bad.”
However, that second half is also largely sublime, as Turner shows, freed from Ike’s destructive clutches, breaking out as a solo artist and exploding into worldwide fame – heralding her career goal of filling stadiums (as big as 186,000 in Rio) into mesmerizing concertdoc images. Seeing Turner jerking across the stage like a force of nature, past the age of 50 when the single “ What’s Love Got to Do With It? ” pushed her into the stratosphere, we are reminded of what a rare feat she has achieved in reaching that level of success as a solo female artist at that age and at that stage in her career.
The film also finds a happy ending in the relationship with Turner, who has long lamented her inability to find love, and German music exec Bach, whom she met in 1986 and married in 2013. In one of the most candid, heartwarming moments from the film, Turner talks about the duration of their relationship from their castle-like home in Zurich, Switzerland, when she consults with him in person. “How many years later did we get married?” She calls into the other room. “Twenty-seven,” he replies quickly.
When Turner and Bach return to New York in 2019 to attend the premiere of the Broadway musical, it is noted that Turner viewed the trip as an opportunity to “ say goodbye to American and American fans. ” Bach says to the filmmakers: “This documentary, this play, this is it. It’s closure. “
Such formulations would be of concern to Turner fans given her age and health concerns over the years. She suffered a stroke in 2013, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, and was considered assisted suicide before her husband donated a kidney for transplant surgery in 2017. But “health-wise, the last time we had contact with her and her husband, she was both in good spirits and feeling healthy,” says Martin.
Her announced forays into the musical and now the HBO documentary are more of a matter of gracefully bowing out of the Tina Turner persona and enjoying a quiet private life after retirement.
“As far as we now understand, her primary intention is to live in her amazing Lake Zurich castle,” says Martin. “And do what Tina wants to do, whether that’s gardening or decorating the house or just reading a book.”
Tina will premiere on HBO on Saturday, March 27.
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