Directed by Liz Garbus, who made the heartbreaking “Love, Marilyn” for HBO in 2012, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” melds heretofore unheard audio tapes, interviews and concert footage of the iconic jazz chanteuse who died in 2003 at age 70.
Netflix and coproducer RadicalMedia are billing this as “the most authentic, personal, and unflinching telling of the extraordinary life of one of the 20th century’s greatest recording artists.” Simone was a singular chameleon whose legacy still looms over music, and civil rights, in which she actively participated throughout her life before emigrating to France in her later years.
Still awaiting release is the Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana, a controversial casting choice that stirred derision among fans due to the fact that Saldana bears little resemblance to the darker-skinned singer. “Nina” screened for buyers at Cannes earlier this year, but as of yet has no dates or distribution.
Garbus was Oscar-nominated once for her 1999 prison doc “The Farm: Angola, USA,” told from the perspective of inmates facing life sentences.