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'Presenting Princess Shaw' is about an improbable pairing that is ineffably right

'Shaw' is the story of the collaboration between Kutiman, who creates split-screen mash-ups of amateur performances on YouTube, and Samantha Montgomery, a singer who at times recalls Nina Simone.

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    'Presenting Princess Shaw' stars Samantha Montgomery.
    Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
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“Presenting Princess Shaw,” a documentary directed by Israeli Ido Haar, is about an improbable pairing that comes to seem ineffably “right.” The “princess” of the title is 39-year-old Samantha Montgomery, a New Orleans nurse for older people who uploads videos of herself singing her original compositions on her YouTube channel. Ophir Kutiel, who goes by the name Kutiman, is an Israeli from Tel Aviv who creates split-screen mash-ups of amateur performances on YouTube as part of his Thru You project (more than 11 million hits).

Although Kutiman and Princess, who endured a harrowing life of childhood abuse, are regularly in touch online, she has no idea that he plans to use her clips as the centerpiece for the mash-up he is creating. This may seem underhanded, but who can argue with results? 

Princess, as a singer, is the real deal, with a throaty resonance that at times recalls Nina Simone. What Kutiman, whom she eventually meets in Israel, has given her is a newfound and miraculous platform for her talent. Grade: B (This film is not rated.)

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