Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on 'Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray.'
There are many things to love about Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray, Kristi Zea's documentary on the iconoclastic visual artist: its impassioned chronicle of sexism in the upper echelons of the art establishment which long kept Murray out of the big leagues in the art world; its playful visual aesthetic which both borrows and reflects Murray's own, turning the screen into a malleable canvas; its understanding of space as mirror and echo of Murray’s personality (unsurprising given Zea’s Oscar-nominated work as a production designer); and then, of course, there's Meryl Streep's narration of the artist’s journals.
Murray died in 2007 of lung cancer and Zea had clearly begun working on this project before she passed: we get to see her talk about her long career as well as working on what would become her last piece, "Everybody Knows," which gives the film its title. But Zea recruited the Oscar perennial to bring to life the private and intimate musings of the artist. Much has been made of Meryl's uncanny ability to mimic accents and dialects, but listen closely and you'll note that her most lived-in (and even her most forgettable) performances rely on the candor of her voice. Think of the sibilant esses in Devil Wears Prada, or the shrill pitchy timbre in Death Becomes Her. In Zea's film she plunges us further into Murray's headspace with a well-placed suppressed giggle or an intentionally accidental pause. It almost becomes Murray’s final artistic collaboration, a fitting one for someone who broke glass ceilings and bore her feminism proudly.