“Who Does She Think She Is?” centers around the difficulties encountered by five women in reconciling motherhood with artistic expression. At its strongest when highlighting artists whose work dramatically visualizes the struggle, Pamela Tanner Boll’s docu loses focus in its coverage of the more mundane aspects of feminine creativity. Sometimes strident and combative, and sometimes celebratory and encouraging, uneven pic often feels like a cobbled-together recap of ’70s feminist issues, still patently unresolved. Docu, bowing Oct. 17 at Gotham’s Angelika Film Center, will warble to the choir.
New Mexican painter and sculptor Maye Torres shapes figures as strong and compelling as she is herself, reflecting little of the pain and uncertainty of the endless custody battle over her three children. On the other hand, Janis Wunderlich, ceramist and Mormon mother of five, enjoys nothing but encouragement from hubby and kids while her oeuvre, featuring female bodies infiltrated by grotesque animalistic broods, evidently externalizes inner conflict. In the cases of a singer-actress, a painter and a printmaker-turned-mystic gardener, however, the balancing act between familial and professional roles yields fewer special tensions, dissipating the unique thrust and raison d’etre of Boll’s approach.
— Ronnie Scheib