The Punk Singer (SIFF 2013)

Really interesting documentary about Kathleen Hanna, founder and lead singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and her rise to notoriety during the “Riot Grrrl” feminist movement in the 1990s. Provides a lot of background information on the rise of feminism as well as the backlash that followed. Also discusses why she stopped performing in 2005. Loved it!

Provided Film Synopsis
"That girl she holds her head up so high, I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah." So go the lyrics to Bikini Kill's punk rock "Rebel Girl." In 1990s Olympia, Washington, feminist activist Kathleen Hanna was the very girl she sang about-headstrong, seemingly self-confident, and a natural leader. A spoken word poet turned musician, she spearheaded the so-called "Riot grrrl" movement, igniting a revolution with feminist politics and DIY 'zines that confronted sexism in the media representation of women. But Hanna, the famously outspoken icon that many looked to as a voice of third wave feminism stopped performing in 2005. Six years later she was diagnosed with an advanced case of Lyme disease. In this feature-length directorial debut from Sini Anderson (co-founder and Artistic Director of Sister Spit) creates a biographical documentary using 20 years of archival footage. Interviews with Hanna, Le Tigre's Johanna Fateman and JD Samson, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Hanna's husband (and Beastie Boy) Adam Horowitz, among others, bring an intimacy to the film and to this vital, influential artist. As Hanna tells the camera, "I lied when I said I was done. I knew I wasn't done. Singing's my life, and I have to do it or I'm gonna go totally bananas," proving she's still the rebel girl who's the queen of our hearts.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Sini Anderson
  • Cast Members:

    • Adam Horovitz
    • Allison Wolfe
    • Carrie Brownstein
    • Corin Tucker
    • JD Samson
    • Joan Jett
    • Johanna Fateman
    • Kathi Wilcox
    • Kathleen Hanna
    • Kim Gordon
    • Tobi Vail
  • Countries:

    • USA
  • Languages:

    • English
  • Genres:

    • Documentary
    • Music