“A well-crafted journey into a corner of odd Americana… Bernier clearly ‘gets’ Tashjian’s obsession with the nut as a living entity redolent with humor, texture, variety and even mystery.”
-Robert Koehler, Variety
“An elegy for a lost post-War generation, an essay about societal attitudes towards the aging, and a celebration of individuality and the power of artmaking.”
-Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
“Bernier’s refreshing documentary reveals the talented, classically trained artist underneath all the nuts… A fun, poignant and heartrending portrait that never condescends.”
-Kim Morgan, LA Weekly
In a Nutshell: A Portrait of Elizabeth Tashjian: chronicles the unique life of Elizabeth Yegsa Tashjian: at birth in 1912, a first generation American of aristocratic Armenian immigrants; at age nine, a concert violinist living on Manhattan’s upper west side; at twenty-one, an award-winning classical painter studying at the National Academy of Design in New York; at age forty-seven, a devoted Christian Science healer; and, at the youthful age of sixty, creator of the one and only Nut Museum. At ninety-two years old, Tashjian found herself immersed in a strange new chapter of her prolific life. After a series of tragic events surrounding her health and finances, she was penniless and confined to a nursing home against her will. The contents of the Nut Museum were permanently removed and her beloved home sold to the highest bidder. Declared insane by her state-appointed conservators, Elizabeth Tashjian fought to preserve her identity and regain the life she built.