As Elaine Stritch Bids Farewell, Her Documentary Director Gives Me Insight


Chiemi Karasawa‘s fab documentary Shoot Me–about the charmingly cantankerous ways of Broadway legend Elaine Stritch–played the Tribeca Film Festival as Stritch prepared to go bye-bye into that good night.

It’s a fitting farewell, and at the after party at the Maritime Hotel’s Cabanas, Chiemi gave me some of the backstory. “Was anything off-limits for Stritchie as far as filming?” I wondered. “No,” said Chiemi. “The opposite! Our cameraman would say, ‘Are you sure we should be filming this?’ but she wanted us around to capture everything. I was going through a hard time when we made the movie,” Chiemi added, “and Elaine became my confidante. We were having a relationship. She knows me as well as I know her.”

So she’s a maternal type? “She’s a maternal type,” she replied, “a sister type, a father type, a brother type, and a pain in the ass type. She feels a camraderie with women. She’s done everything in spades. There’s nothing you could say that would shock her. She can see things coming. I told her, ‘I had to break up with my boyfriend’ and she said, ‘Well, we knew that was going to happen. Either the circus is in town or it isn’t.'”

Elaine’s circus is leaving town, but it’s not going to be forgotten.