Film Reviews

Review: ‘Tempest Storm’

Hot Docs 2016

Courtesy of Hot Docs


Tempest Storm
(Canada/Germany/France, 83 min.)
Dir. Nimisha Mukerji
Programme: Artscapes (World Premiere)

Now 88, Tempest Storm strip-teased for 60 of those years. With her flaming red hair, comforting southern smile and statuesque body, she is far more a burlesque royalty than a little old lady. The film travels with Tempest to celeb shows and Rockabilly Weekends where she meets fans and signs autographs. Not too long ago she was “still out there shaking my booty,” she tells us.

Mukerji’s smooth, easy-going doc captures a living legend at a moment when she need to look back as she continues moving forward. The movie tells her story from a sexually abused youth to a terrifically successful adulthood. We find out about her relationships with Elvis, JFK, and Herb Jeffries, a black singer she married at a time when mixed relationships were strictly taboo in America.

In need of connecting to her past, Tempest seeks out the identity of her real father, visits family she hasn’t seen for years, and most of all, persistently tries to re-connect with her estranged daughter. Graced by poetic moments, Tempest Storm is a portrait of a woman who has lived in a bubble of flash and eternal youth facing the consequences of her choices, and the inevitability of mortality. She never says it in the film, but we can see the end is on her mind.

Tempest Storm screens:
-Tuesday, May 3 at Hart House at 1:00 PM

Please visit the POV Hot Docs hub for more coverage on this year’s festival.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit www.hotdocs.ca for more information.

Maurie Alioff writes about movies for publications off- and on-line, and is a screenwriter currently collaborating on a documentary featuring Bob Marley’s granddaughter while researching other Jamaica-related projects, including a magical-realist crime story drawing on stories he hears on the island. He has written for radio, journals and TV, taught screenwriting and been a contributing editor to various magazines.

View all articles by Maurie Alioff »