Hailed as one of the most influential American authors of her time, Joan Didion is now the subject of a new Netflix documentary entitled Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Rumours of the film first arose in 2014 when Didion’s nephew, the filmmaker Griffin Dunne, commenced a Kickstarter campaign for the project, because, “no one else, incredibly, has made a documentary about her.”
The film reveals her iconic status amongst the literary crowd, revered for her ability to capture the sentiment of the time in which she was writing and her unprecedented reportage style. Beyond her literary acclaim and the glitz and glam of a life filled with close friends from Steven Spielberg to Anna Wintour, Didion’s life was tainted by the immense loss of her husband and daughter, which she later channelled into her work.
Didion has kept away from the public eye in recent years, unexpectedly publishing a collection of notes and essays South And West this spring, without the usual fanfare. Giving his reasons for telling the life story of his aunt now, Dunne said, “Joan is in her 80s, in frail health. When she is not here, I will be. This is a story that I am telling to live”, making reference to the famous opening line of her essay The White Album, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
Take a look at the trailer below: