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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Illuminating, if Uneven Tragicomedy

Author: soybomb89 from New York, New York
27 September 2004

Noteworthy for so many reasons, (not the least of which being a heartbreaking cameo from Richard Pryor,) Bitter Jester ostensibly delves into the highs and lows of struggling along the comedy circuit. Beautiful and outrageously talented Maija experiences a crisis of conscience

and seeks to find center again by making a documentary of (in roughly this

order) her youth, parents, rise on the comedy scene, implosion on said scene, psychotherapy, meeting her homicidal boyfriend, using his contacts to talk to other comedians about their experiences, feuding with Jerry Seinfeld, cross

country trips, her boyfriends potential gay lover, etc. Needless to say, it feels a bit scattered. But amidst the clutter, there is a beautiful film in here. If only the filmmakers had been able to polish and edit the material down and stick to the heart of the issue. The access they had to notable comedians (and comediennes) is staggering

and worth watching for that reason alone. And Maija's journey from shattered

ego to eventual rebirth is inspiring for any artist. It is mostly Ken Simmons that seems to derail this particular train, physically, emotionally, verbally. The man is a juggernaut, barreling through life like the minotaur. Admirable in its way, I mean, he is the reason we even get to see

Richard Pryor in all his decimated glory, but truly the film spends to much time dealing with him, his ego, and his exploits. Inspiring if a little flawed, Bitter Jester is a film you must see if you are an aspiring comedian, an artist, or just a caring, feeling human being.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not a well made film, but worth checking out.

Author: RT Firefly from United States
14 March 2005

I don't know if this documentary is available anywhere, but this film does have elements worth checking out if you can find it, especially if you are prepared for the amateur film making and the overpowering, and sometimes nerve wracking, presence of star-by-proxy Kenneth Simmons. I caught this at the 2003 New York Film Festival and met with many of the members of the production in the theater after the screening. I can vouch that they are the real deal. In fact, they may have even edited out some things to make it more palatable.

I agree with Soybomb89's excellent review, so refer to that for more details. Suffice to say, this film is like watching a train wreck, both fascinating and yet tragically nauseating at the same time. I would not fault someone for hating it, it shows they have a soul, but there are many redeeming qualities about it as well. A hilarious interview with Gilbert Godfried comes to mind. I also think director Maija Di Giorgio is to be commended for working well with limited resources, especially experience. Given more of the latter, I believe she could become an excellent filmmaker.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Classic Original

10/10
Author: Paul Woodley
4 April 2012

Maija really delivers in this short film/documentary.

Who would have known that this real-life comic could be so good at telling and directing a real-life documentary. Her talent really shines in this film on all levels.

Bitter Jester has lot's of famous comedian characters in it. It is interesting how these band of brothers/sisters stick together event through fame and even misfortune.

Bitter Jester was very interesting and entertaining to say the least. A real original!

Well written with a good story line - I highly recommend especially if you want to get into comedy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Must See Full Of Laughter

10/10
Author: ilovtodance from United States
4 April 2012

I don't know if this documentary is available anywhere, but this film Does have elements worth checking out and seeing, especially if you are Prepared for the great film making and the overpowering of laughter. I Agree with the excellent review, and details that have been said by all. This is a fascinating film I also think director Maija Di Giorgio is to be commended for working well with limited resources, especially the Great experience she has. Given more of the latter, I believe she has Become an excellent film maker and will go a long way it the film Making industry. Richard Pryor in all his decimated glory, but truly the film spends too much time dealing with him, his ego, and his exploits. Inspiring if a little flawed, Bitter Jester is a film you must see if you are an aspiring comedian, an artist, or just a caring, feeling human being. Bitter Jester ostensibly delves into the highs and lows of struggling along the comedy circuit. Beautiful and outrageously talented Maija experiences a crisis of conscience and seeks to find center again by making a documentary of her youth, parents, rise on the comedy scene, implosion on said scene, psychotherapy, meeting her homicidal boyfriend, using his contacts to talk to other comedians about their experiences, feuding with Jerry Seinfeld, cross country trips, But amidst the clutter, there is a beautiful film in here.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bitter Jester

10/10
Author: Phil Czyzewicz
4 April 2012

A very honest, funny and extremely well made documentary about comedy! This project was done by comic/filmmaker Maija DiGiorgio! She wrote, directed, and starred in this film, which screened on the festival circuit at Cinequest, TriBeca Film Festival, and the US Comedy Arts Festival amongst other places. The movie gives a complete behind the scenes struggles of a new comic (Miss DiGiorgio)who also happens to be bi-racial trying to make it in the cut throat world of her chosen profession. Bitter Jester has some of the biggest names in comedy such as Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Paul Mooney and Whoopi Goldberg..just to name a few! Thoroughly entertaining!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Thought provoking movie

10/10
Author: NYLynnie from United States
4 April 2012

Bitter Jester is one-of-a-kind for many reasons. The all-star cast, the never-seen-before behind-the-scenes look at the world of comedy, the precious interview with Richard Pryor and the enduring strength of its director and star Maija DiGiorgio. Maija takes us on a personal journey through the world of comedy sharing her victories and brick walls, and the advice and guidance she receives from a cast of well-known comics. Maija is a gorgeous woman! She's got obvious energy for her work and throws herself into this movie with deep honesty that shows through as she chronicles her victories and frustrations. A follow-up to Bitter Jester is in order – I hope with Maija's talent to see her directing, acting and producing. She has a knack and her passion shows through in this film. She's not a talent to shelve, but should be allowed to express her passion!

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This film blew me away !

10/10
Author: anthonywavex from United States
15 April 2012

Many films have characters to hide behind. This film was so without vanity and raw and honest and kudos to Maija for baring her emotional scars out there for the world to see. I thought it was an excellent film. I so appreciate the struggle and the adversity she faced and overcame. I thought. The Richard Pryor footage was well done and judiciously applied. The moment of truth for me was the advice Whoopi Goldberg gave her. The interaction with her friends were priceless. Its a real reality film with nascent comedians who are now world famous. I could not believe all of the obstacles in her path she faced. So this film is a must see.It is a great almost biopic of a talented person.

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love it

9/10
Author: colli109 from United States
4 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very funny

I just loved this movie it has a great cast and great director. Maija has a raw talent and is very funny. I hope she took the advise from Woopie. I would have loved to the fly on the wall for that one. The last interview with Richard, now that was just priceless and heart breaking. Goerge Carlin, funny as always, he will be missed. It is hard to talk about ones fall from grace, but to make a movie for all the world to see. Now that takes guts and Maija did it with style. Hope to see more from Maija, but not with Kenny he may have brought in the stars, but he is a little nuts. she's come a long way! Great funny lady! The 911 footage was heart warming. Can't wait to see her next project.

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Comedy...Behind the Curtain

9/10
Author: ivthbeasty from United States
4 April 2012

An interesting look at comedians and what isn't always shown on stage in their personal lives. This movie follows one comedienne Maija, who achieved fame and prestige and almost too early in her career and had to reinvent herself as a comedian.

The movie is full of interviews with an A-list of performers, Whoopi Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Jerry Stiller, Rita Rudner, Richard Belzer, Christopher Titus Lisa Lampenelli, and two of my favorites George Carlin and Richard Pryor. I think this is one of the last interviews of Richard Pryor.

If you want to see the drama that begets comedy, you'll love this one.

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