SXSW 2013: The Punk Singer

One of this year's most anticipated events of SXSW was the world premiere of the new documentary about Kathleen Hanna. (Named after the best Julie Ruin song ever FYI.) I was able to catch one of the screenings yesterday evening at the State Theatre. The film documents Hanna's time spent fronting Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, outlines her roots in feminism and her role in cultivating Riot Grrrl and inspiring the third wave of feminism. It's not inaccessible to a more mainstream audience; the film does a good job contextualizing things like "what are fanzines?" and "what is feminism?" Throughout, the film spliced together live footage from punk shows in the 90s with interviews conducted over the past few years. Many of the interviews of with Hanna herself; also featured are Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, JD Samson, Johanna Fateman, Tammy Rae Carland, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Ad-Rock, and more. (One of my favorite parts was probably Tavi Gevinson explaining the story of the time Courtney Love punched Kathleen Hanna in the face.) Ultimately the most compelling part of this though was definitely the last half hour or so in wich the film maker, SIni Anderson, interviews Hanna about her current battle with late-stage Lyme disease. The doc interviews Kathleen's doctor as well and paints a vivid heart-breaking explanation of why Hanna has been so removed from playing music lately.
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