“Everyone always fell in love with her—male and female,” says an ex-lover of María Irene Fornés. After viewing director Michelle Memran’s fascinating documentary about, and love letter to, the charismatic Cuban-born playwright, you’ll be getting in line as well.
Fornés was an integral member of New York’s vibrant experimental theater scene in the 1960s and ’70s, alongside Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, and John Guare. Outside theater circles, she’s probably remembered more for her relationship with Susan Sontag than for her Obie Award–winning plays. While this film touches on “the love of my life,” as Fornés calls Sontag, its real focus is Fornés’ intuitive creative process and her influence on contemporary theater.
“The Rest I Make Up operates as a sort of master class in making art, and even as Fornés struggles with loss—of memory and of community—her inquisitive approach to life remains strong. At one point, Fornés invents the thoughts of passing boats, creating a mini love story; in another moment, she describes the experience of losing memories with an air of curious wonder. While the film provides context with interviews, archival footage, and photos, Fornés is always the focus. The camera follows her on neighborhood walks, to book parties, and even to Cuba. “Am I so fascinating that you feel I don’t need a script?” Fornés asks the director early on. The answer is yes.”
—MONICA NOLAN, Frameline Film Festival catalog