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“Love to Love You, Donna Summer,” a new documentary, premieres May 20 on HBO and HBO Max. The storytellers are her three daughters, her siblings, her husband, her parents, her colleagues in the music, and Summer herself. The footage of home movies and performances captures the life of the “disco queen.” Her voice for the film’s opening previews what viewers will hear.
“I have a secret life. You’re looking at me, but what you see is not who I am,” says Summer. “How many roles do I play in my own life?”
Some of the secrets are what many people assume about entertainers. But Summer was always a loving and loyal family person, who loved her family unconditionally, her colleagues, and her fans.
She grew up in the church so being a dance hall favorite was not a foreseen trajectory, but Summer’s family always knew she was an entertainer. Her salacious first hit “Love to Love You Baby,” on which the documentary’s title is based, was a hit in Europe before it created a huge following for the singer in America, especially among the gay community. Summer had her eyes on being a film director, which makes sense with all the film footage that is the foundation for this documentary. She was always shooting films of her life on the road and at home. Like a lot of entertainers, we learn Summer had other creative talents in addition to the one for which they are most known. She also was a painter.
Co-directors are Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and Summer’s daughter Brooklyn Sudano. They capture the pure essence of the singer through reflective memories from Sudano’s sisters and Summer’s husband Bruce Sudano. It took a lifetime for Summer to say who she was, and viewers will appreciate that and will see that process in “Love to Love You, Donna Summer.”
View the movie trailer of “Love to Love You, Donna Summer” at https://youtu.be/xQXInltKe8E.