(1999)4Craig Butler"I feel possessed when I play," Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg says in Speaking in Strings, the acclaimed documentary about this controversial violinist. Viewers may feel similarly possessed while watching this gripping, fascinating portrait of a woman with a spirit and personality that can fill any screen (or concert hall). Salerno-Sonnenberg is not always the easiest person to be around; she feels with an intensity that is sometimes frightening, and that intensity tends to envelop those around her, even extending off the screen to touch viewers. Such emotional honesty is daunting but also captivating, and it gives Strings the same character that marks Salerno-Sonnenberg's playing. Some viewers will possibly be turned off by this, just as some critics believe her playing to be distracting grandstanding. But there's no distance between the woman and her art, and so whether you love her or hate her, it's hard to take your eyes off of her. Director Paola di Florio has done an excellent job of capturing both the person and her music, blending the two into a portrait that is both illuminating and entertaining -- even for those for whom classical music is usually a bore.