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The Punk Singer

4.5 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Review

This is a woman who has been through hell and come out kicking, and the result is as much a celebration as it is a documentary. --Tom Huddleston, Time Out

"Offers revelations alongside an invigorating recap of Hanna's influential career. --John Defore, Hollywood Reporter

Product Details

  • Actors: Kathleen Hanna, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon
  • Directors: Sini Anderson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2014
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GS0927I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Rogers on April 4, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was dragged to the Mall in DC to see Fugazi and "some lame chicks rights band" back in the day. I was an unaware young man just going for a free show and walked away with with a seed planted in my head. Bikini Kill opened my mind to a wave of bands and ideas that has taken the years since then to really sink in. Kathleen is such an amazing person and artist, this film goes beyond all the BS and gives a slight peak at the person behind the art. I am sure I could go on but there are reviews here that spill it out better than I can, in parting buy this movie!
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'Bikini Kill' was just one of those really great bands fronted by the talented Kathleen Hanna. Showing so much of the band in concert, along with Hanna talking freely, I really enjoyed this documentary as I haven't heard much about her in such a long time. Now Sini Anderson gives us this musical look, along with her additional camera work, into this Punk Rock band with a message as clear as crystal. The feminist wave of female rockers was understood differently by different people, although Hanna defines being a feminist right here: "Feminism is standing up to any and all oppression for anyone". This "Rebel Girl", Kathleen Hanna, was a beam of well needed light into the darkest issues concerning women. 'Bikini Kill' revamped concerts with an open invite for all the girls to get to the front of the audience. This was to keep them away from the violent nature of concerts as she was seeing them at the time. With songs about abuse, rape, violence, sexism and objectifying women, Kathleen Hanna punched out her feelings with lyrical fists.

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.
Read more ›
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I saw this on instant video and had to watch it again. Bikini Kill were a mystery in the early 90's to me as a 14 year old. I never saw any interviews and that added to their enigma. I have to admit I was not an immediate fan of Kathleen Hanna. I was more into bands from Britain like Huggy Bear, Voodoo Queens and dream noise bands like Lush and Curve. The American stuff I did like was Babes in Toyland, Hole, L7 and 7 year Bitch. Then in 1996 Bikini Kill released their best work Reject All American. I was now a fan, but then they broke up a year later. Fortunately Kathleen was not done. She came back cool and strong with Le Tigre with the amazing Johanna Fateman. Years later they broke up too. I assumed Kathleen wanted out of the spotlight. Well the answer to my assumptions is the heart of this documentary. What Kathleen overcomes with the help of her loving husband Adam Horovitz is the real story. So watch it!

EDIT May 2014: Life is about constant change and dealing with people and their hypocrisy. I recently found out about Kathleen's involvement with the Michigan Womyn's Festival and their transphobic policy. They only allow natural born women in the festival which is their right, but they are alienating a lot of people by it. What really gets me about all of this is that Kathleen who has made a career of fighting for everyone's rights is completely silent about the topic. This is someone who has rallied against institutionalized racism, classism, sexism and homophobia. Her former band had a trans person in it. Yet when the trans community has reached out to her to apologize for her part in the festival to at least address her feelings, Kathleen pretends it is a non issue. She has ignored all emails and protests. I am not well versed in trans issues, but I know what a hypocrite is...I'm looking at you Ms. Hanna!
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One of the many good things documentaries can do is make you aware of a person, a movement, a moment that you somehow overlooked, and help you realize just how important and how wonderful that person (or art form or whatever) was and/or is. So it was for me with “The Punk Singer”. Not growing up a big punk fan, I missed out on Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill, and the Riot Grrrl movement. My loss. This angry, joyful, tough, articulate, crazy, sexy, insightful, funny, political artist was a major force in feminism and social politics, and if I came late to the party I’m grateful to the film for making the introduction now. The film can be uneven – some (not all) of the talking head interviews with others aren’t very interesting when compared to the performance footage of Hannah, or her ability to analyze her work and it’s meaning in her own interviews – but I ended up inspired by the woman and the artist, and inspiration these days is in short supply.
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