Cinema Review: The Punk Singer | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024  

The Punk Singer

Studio: IFC Films
Directed by Sini Anderson

Nov 27, 2013 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
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Sini Anderson’s fascinating feature-length doc paints an extensive portrait of singer, activist, and artist Kathleen Hanna, known for her work in Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin, and Le Tigre, and as one of the founding figures of the riot grrrl movement. Anchored by a series of up-front conversations with Hanna, it traces the path of her career from its Northwestern feminist arts scene, through her years as an alternative icon, to her hiatus in the late-2000s and her recent return to music. The Punk Singer remains as vibrant as Hanna’s music, thanks not only to the lively soundtrack, but to plentiful performance footage, home videos, and to candid interviews with authors, former bandmates, and fellow musicians such as Kim Gordon, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, Joan Jett, and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz.

This documentary benefits from having a subject who is not only charismatic, but has truly important things to say. The Punk Singer works as more than just a compelling picture of Hanna, but as an eye-witness account of an important movement in feminist art; it’s a film as vibrant and as vital as her music.

Author rating: 8/10

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