This mesmerizing documentary about the controversial classical violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is directed by Paola di Florio, a childhood friend. Her intimate knowledge of this complicated artist works in our favor.
Nadja was born into a musical family in Italy and then abandoned by her father at three months. She landed in New York at eight and never quite shook off the feeling that she was an outsider. After studying at Juilliard, she won a major violin competition in 1982 and had her debut at Carnegie Hall shortly afterward.
Commentary from critics, colleagues, and her mother is supplemented with verite footage of Salerno-Sonnenberg's performances, which at one point in her career tallied up to 200 in a year. While some have been upset by this violinist's movement on stage while performing, almost everyone has lauded her passionate artistry. Always expressing her emotions without holding back, Nadja capitulated to a deep depression in 1995 that culminated in a suicide attempt. Speaking in Strings concludes with her triumphant comeback two weeks later.