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Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Ex­cerpts of se­lect re­views of Paul Wil­liams Still Alive: The in­sight­ful, rue­ful, in­tensely self-crit­i­cal and self-aware Wil­liams de­liv­ers a harsh look at his own ac­com­plish­ments, as well as at Kessler’s process. Un­will­ing both to feign obliv­i­ous­ness and to play to the cam­era, Wil­liams calls the project the “Steve and Paulie show” and makes their tensely ar­ti­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship the core of the story. The oft-hi­lar­i­ous push-and-pull be­tween di­rec­tor and sub­ject … ef­fec­tively hacks away at the celebrity-en­thu­si­ast di­vide. By the end of this per­cep­tive dual por­trait, both men are con­tent Watch­ing is like go­ing through an old scrap­book with the singer. There’s great footage of his highs, and his highs... drugs and al­co­hol de­railed his ca­reer. Wil­liams’ agenda some­times clashes with the film­maker’s but the fric­tion only makes it bet­ter. Film­maker Stephen Kessler has made a thor­oughly sat­is­fy­ing, al­ways en­gag­ing and un­usu­ally per­cep­tive doc al­most in spite of him­self — and in the face no lit­tle re­sis­tance on the part of his sub­ject, which would be the once very fa­mous singer/song­writer/ac­tor/en­ter­tainer Paul Wil­liams.

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