Trailer for The Punk Singer, a new documentary about feminist punk rocker Katheleen Hanna. Review here.
Directed by Sini Anderson, "The Punk Singer" makes its intentions clear from the title alone; though told through the reminiscences of the circle of artists and allies who know Hanna, this isn't the story of an instant hero to third-wave feminism. Instead, it's a layered portrait of a complex, constantly evolving woman who found herself thrust forward as the public face of a movement. While the art school/stripper background makes for easy copy for the lazy chronicler of this time (and indeed, mainstream outlets often reduced Hanna and her peers as nothing more than victims with guitars), "The Punk Singer" does an excellent job of underscoring that Hanna, Bikini Kill and the other artists and voices of what would become known as Riot Grrl (a catchall for the alternative feminist action of that time) weren't necessarily exorcising personal demons, but creating a specific space—one that was safe, open and crucially focused on the issues women weren't able to address comfortably elsewhere.