Punk Singer [Import]
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Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. In so doing she became both one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons and a cultural lightning rod. While her critics wished she would just shut up, her fans hoped she never would. So when in 2005 Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and intimate interviews with Hanna and those who were part of the scene, including music legends Joan Jett and Adam Horowitz, THE PUNK SINGER takes viewers on a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader.""
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Not only did she have her own band, she also co-found the 'Riot Grrrl' revolution. These were bands with so much to say, and also, they were produced by rocker Joan Jett. Strong, angry, decisive, and thematic with a commanding presence, the Riot Grrrl's movement took the Punk scene with its own fury. Kathleen had made some very influential friends in Kurt Cobain and also the band 'Sonic Youth', among many others during her time in both ventures.
Before 'Bikini Kill' eventually broke up, Kathleen helped to make fanzines which explained their reasoning for feelings that they each had. This was done to go into 'Riot Grrrl' with a "Manifesto", which they named it. Feminism was not dead nor apathetic, and their intent was to bring it to the stage; right to the National Mall in Washington D.C. It was all about reconciling the differences and likenesses in all women. She was the first one to come forth, and the hardest to forget. Kathleen was a true leader in the band, but mainly of the cause. It was at this time she met her husband to be, 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame' Inductee, Adam Horovitz of the "Beastie Boys".
Until this documentary, I didn't know what happened to Kathleen Hanna. Where she was, what had happened to her. She had been at the top of her game, fronting the band 'Le Tigre' with friend Johanna Fateman and then, she was gone. The atmospheric docudrama tells her story, talks candidly, honestly and openly about what Kathleen Hanna went through after leaving. As she would clarify that "She didn't have anything more to say", although later admits this was not true. Kathleen has very serious issues that she and her supportive husband, Adam, are still struggling with which she explains here. Thanks to this project, I was able to catch up with Kathleen's personal life. Anderson gives us a completely informative, well done documentary, which you wouldn't want to miss if you are a fan of Punk Rock and/or just love music in general.
Director Sini Anderson has accumulated press clips, performance footage, interviews and music industry know-how to create a story that took a 90° turn about two-thirds of the way in. We start with footage that introduces us to Kathleen Hanna, a frustrated girl who just wanted to be heard.
A clever advisor told her the best way was through music, not stories. The upshot was, she and some chums formed Bikini Kill, a punk rock group that enjoyed unexpected success, partly because she insisted the females in the audience be granted priority and treated with respect. As a part of the burgeoning music scene in the Pacific Northwest, she became friends with Joan Jett of The Runaways, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney.
We watch this girl (who helped originate the Riot Grrrl movement of the 90s) grow into an intelligent woman of great beauty. As her stature changes, she becomes disenchanted with the way the press keeps trying to create dissension among female performers and finds herself extremely weary of touring.
Now the 90° turn. She is eventually diagnosed with Lyme Disease and we watch her struggles, bolstered by her wonderful husband Adam Horovitz of the Beasty Boys.
I have never been a fan of punk rock, but this story is wonderful. Kudos to the cinematographers, Jennie Jeddry and Moira Morel. There are a couple of setups that were notable for their beauty and acute eye for color. The rating will probably be a PG-13 because our gal is articulate, well-behaved and doesn't have the potty mouth I would have expected.
I hope Amazon soon will offer the DVD for sale instead of just this method.