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A film by Peter Sanders

80 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2014
DVD packaged in a certified Green Forestry eco pack

Regular Price: $27.95
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Altina is the provocative portrait of an American trendsetter whose free spirit defied convention. A woman ahead of her time, Altina Schinasi was born in 1907 in New York City; the daughter of a tobacco tycoon and descendent of Sephardic Jews, she upended the expectations that accompanied her position. Altina was a paradox: simultaneously seductive and reserved, her genteel upbringing was in sharp contrast to the bold sexuality of her art and her life.

In addition to creating whimsical works of art and sculpture, Altina invented the glamorous Harlequin 'cat's-eye' eyeglasses, worn by the likes of Lucille Ball and Peggy Guggenheim, and as well directed an Oscar-nominated documentary about Nazi brutality told through the drawings of German expressionist artist George Grosz. Altina's life was anchored in the social and political issues of the time: helping Jewish refugees escape the Holocaust; providing aid and shelter to friends who were targeted by Joseph McCarthy's Un-American Activities campaign; and being involved early on in the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr.

Directed by her grandson Peter Sanders, the film captures this unpredictable woman whose bold, uninhibited passion for life is an inspiration for all.

Watch the Trailer


"A loving portrait of a fascinating woman. If Altina hadn't really existed, some imaginative screenwriter would have had to invent her." - The Hollywood Reporter

"Delightful! A quirky, eccentric documentary. You can't help but cheer her on!" - Vanity Fair

"An absorbing look at wealth, privilege, creativity and progressive thinking...also an evocative time capsule." - Los Angeles Times

"A joyful portrait... We are treated to an acquaintanceship with a woman in an almost constant search for a creative life, and that might be its most moving feature. At a time when expectations of women were rigid and limiting, Altina allowed herself to make choices that seem to have opened doors to both a seemingly fearless creativity and true love." - The Village Voice

Disc Features

●  Extended Interviews
●  Photo Gallery

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