This is my last Hot Docs Film to be reviewed and after seeing so many serious and less than cheerful documentaries I came across one from Down Under “I’m Wanita” that is a bit more relaxing than being enshrined in doom.
Wanita, a hard drinking and party animal and former sex trade worker is a well- known country music performer in Australia with a small-town Tamworth being the country music capital of Australia and her home. Wanita since early childhood has been addicted to country music and is well schooled in the classic and traditional country music school such as Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and Charly Pride. Music from a different era but more from the heart and soul than the modern country music I hear. I’ll take Patsy Cline over the modern unrecognizable country music. Keith Urban? Give me a break.
Wanita has a dream of recording an album in Nashville and somehow she finds the money to do this even hiring a well known producer, Billy Yates, so off she goes first stopping off at Memphis and New Orleans. Wanita seems a bit overexcited and consumes too much alcohol to make a mark in these two cities but gets its together in Nashville and records her album which she thinks is a country music marvel and it indeed sounds good. However not good enough to propel this 46-year-old woman into international stardom but her dream has been reached!
We do learn about Wanita’s tumultuous personal life and her autism. Perhaps that is what made her somewhat obsessed by country music? Perhaps the alcohol is but an attempt to self-medicate. So get ready for a personal and musical adventure.
In closing from what I hear Wanita favours a more traditional country music and I couldn’t be happier with that choice. If only we had an opportunity to hear more of her music. You needn’t think you are a fuckwit Wanita! Love that session band in the New Orleans studio! Love what I heard in your Nashville album.
This is part of Toronto Hot Docs and you can watch up to May 9th and buy tickets here https://www.hotdocs.ca/
Directed by Matthew Walker.