GLORIA GAYNOR: I WILL SURVIVE (Tribeca 2023) – Review by Leslie Combemale

From just hearing the first 7 words, “First I was afraid. I was petrified”, almost everyone knows what comes next, regardless of age or musical taste, and many know the whole song by heart. The song, I Will Survive, won the one and only Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording in 1980. It made singer Gloria Gaynor, who had been trying to make it as a performer since the 1960s, an international star overnight. The new documentary from producer/director Betsy Schechter Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive is a fairly straight-ahead bio-doc, and looks back on that stardom and what it took to get there, but centers Gaynor’s story on more recent challenges and triumphs, making it more compelling to watch than what casual viewers might expect.

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GLORIA GAYNOR: I WILL SURVIVE (Tribeca 2023) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Gloria Gaynor became synonymous with an anthem of independence, sass, guts, and faith, but it wasn’t until her sixties that she learned what it really meant to survive—and thrive. This and other heartfelt revelations shimmer through Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive, an affectionate and engrossing documentary filled with confessional interviews, historical videos, and intimate footage of disco’s onetime queen recording her first gospel album.

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HOW THEY GOT OVER – Review by Martha K Baker

This historic documentary describes the indelible link between gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. After gospel’s birth in churches, the Twenties brought the new-fangled radio and the freshly pressed record business to audiences beyond church congregations. The result: keen competition and bold innovations — not always acceptable to the evangelical churches, which thought gospel music was getting too damned secular. Plus, through the years, Clem notes, many gospel singers did not live the life they were singing about.

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