Archive for category Film
The Punk Singer contains so many inspiring and kick-ass moments. In this documentary film about feminist/musician/Riot grrrl/ activist Kathleen Hanna, I realized how much I want to be her friend. I’m an avid feminist and honestly don’t have many feminist friends. It’s disheartening. Hanna’s the epitome of an unapologetic GenXer feminist. The next time someone questions my feminism I’m going to remind myself “What would Kathleen Hanna Do?” She explains at the end of the film is that if someone doesn’t understand or like feminism then they just need to get out of the way. She also laments that men tell the truth and it’s accepted and rarely questioned. Women tell the truth and it’s dissected, examined and rarely accepted for the truth. Women must prove themselves again and again. Women constantly fight the system in whatever industry.
So when a young Kathleen Hanna asserted a media black-out for Bikini Kill in the 90s due to negative press and backlash it was the only way she could control her truth at that time. As women why can’t we be beautiful feminists who dress in skirts and wear make-up? There are no rules that say we can’t. We have brains and boobs and vaginas and voices and we won’t be silenced. But people who don’t want to hear us will twist everything.
Hanna originally started doing spoken word performances but someone suggested she form a band because people actually go see bands. And music what a perfect medium. It resonates in so many ways for so many people. We feel the rhythm. We analyze the lyrics. We watch the band members when we see them perform. Music can change our mood or reinforce our current state of mind. Music can make us feel less alone. Music is power. Hanna crafts her songs to push and pull us in various directions. Kathleen Hanna the musician brilliantly encapsulates so many layers to her music and performances– visual, sonic, cerebral, visceral.
The film chronicles Hanna’s journey from Olympia, Wash. college student—she was friends with Kurt Cobain and inspired him to write “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – to her new music project The Julie Ruin. When as a college student and photography major she started a feminist art collective and later the punk band Bikini Kill. It was a seminal band for the 90s and the third wave feminist movement. Hanna sang about serious topics—sexual abuse, rape, sexism, body image. Mosh pits and crowd surfing were the rage at the time and girls were getting hurt in the rough punk most-male crowds at other shows. At a Bikini Kill show, Hanna had a new decree: girls at the front; boys in the back.
Bikini Kill moved to Washington, D.C. and toured throughout the world although never making much money. Hanna and some friends created zines and developed the Riot grrrl concept—the ability for women to speak out about what was important for them, to be themselves. After eight years, Bikini Kill breaks up and soon after Hanna forms a trio called Le Tigre—more electro-pop with thoughtful lyrics. Very cool music. She had to end things with Le Tigre when she became sick with Lyme disease. She’s currently married to Adam Horowitz of Beastie Boys–of whom she says “can’t believe this feminist was with the guy who wrote that ‘Girls who do the dishes, who do the laundry song’ in the ‘80s but you fall in love with who you fall in love with.”
Using concert footage, archival footage, testimonial from former band-mates as well as friends such as Kim Gordon and Tamara Davis as well as husband Adam Horowitz, The Punk Singer is one of the best biographical documentaries I’ve ever seen and a must-see for all feminists, all women, anyone with empathy. It’s empowering, riveting and bold. More people need to learn about Kathleen Hanna.
The Punk Singer
Directed by: Sini Anderson
Running time: 80 minutes
–PETA has launched a limited-edition sheet of U.S. postage PhotoStampsTM featuring famous vegetarians throughout history.
Stella McCartney: “[Vegetarianism is] a philosophy of how you conduct your life and time on the planet. … One of the things I was taught growing up was, ‘Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.’”
Sarah Silverman: “When I was 9 or 10 years old, my dad took me over to a neighboring farm to help get stuff for the meal. The farmer, Vic, told me to look at all the turkeys and pick one out. I saw a cute one with a silly walk and cried, ‘Him!’ Before my pointing finger had even dropped to my side, Vic had grabbed the turkey by the neck and slit [the animal's] throat. Blood and feathers went flying. I had sentenced that turkey to death! Up until then, I didn’t know where meat came from—and I’ve been a vegetarian ever since.”
Bob Barker: “The answer to enjoying life is nutrition. I recommend that you become a vegetarian and exercise if you want to enjoy the golden years. … I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago, and I did it out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better.”
Edie Falco: “Once you’ve seen [the undercover factory-farming footage], you can’t pretend you didn’t. It’s over. The stamp is in my brain, and the idea that we commit such atrocities against animals—it will be our fatal flaw as humans, I think, to not bring the situation to light and stop it.”
Natalie Portman: “Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating. Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.”
Sir Paul McCartney: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”
Morrissey: “I think animals look to humans for protection, and of course humans lead them into slaughterhouses, which to me is just like an image of leading children into a slaughterhouse. There’s no difference.” Morrissey’s stringent views on vegetarianism inspired his album with The Smiths’ titled Meat is Murder.
“Most men I know are attracted to anyone. I could be at a party and say to my boyfriend, ‘You’re the only person here, thank goodness, I’m really attracted to.’ And I know there’s 20 women in that room he’d be happy to have sex with.”
–Guardian interview, October 19, 2013
the Jewish thing
She gets offered a lot of Jewish roles even though Scarlett Johansson’s also Jewish: “every Jewish role comes to me. I look more Jewish than Scarlett [Johansson].”
“I don’t like confrontation, but I’m probably less afraid of it now. I wouldn’t say I’m confrontational. But I say my opinion. I realize how much my non-confrontation was about trying to have everyone like me.”
Natalie stars in the upcoming Thor sequel
She has great parents.
“They made me feel that they would drop anything at any time to help me. I never felt like there was anything more important than me. Which I know can probably create an assh*le, too. It gives you a deep sense of security and safety to feel that your parents will love you no matter what.”
“I’m perhaps alone amongst my colleagues because I like talking about women’s issues in film, and feminism. I think a lot of women don’t like to do that. It’s usually, “Can we please turn the conversation back to my work?” For me, it’s an important part of who I am. I feel like so much of the reaction to my work and to me is connected to the fact that I’m a woman, so I can’t avoid that conversation. A part of my career is that I am a woman and I’ve committed myself to writing roles for women. I cannot separate myself from that and say, “Oh, can we please just talk about my work?” That is my work.”
–Film School Rejects, October 19, 2013
On Thursday, a friend and I plan to see Gravity on a long-planned movie date. In the past week, I’ve seen several wonderful films that I must recommend.
indie in theaters:
–writer/ director Nicole Holofcener [Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money] creates wonderfully complicated characters. A masseuse [Julia Louis-Dreyfus] begins dating a guy [James Gandolfini] who turns out to be the ex-husband of a new friend. Julia Louis-Dreyfus exudes warmth and charm, James Gandolfini plays insecure and the film is sweet and smart.
on Netflix instant:
– intense, amazing film about a girl kidnapped and forced to be a rebel soldier in sub-Saharan Africa. when she develops intuition to where the enemy is she’s deemed a witch and works alongside the leader. that is until one day she meets an unusual boy who might provide her a way out from this terrible existence. brutal and beautiful. this 12-year-old girl’s survival story.
documentary on DVD:
WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE
–Spike Lee’s four-part compelling, heartbreaking, eye-opening documentary about Hurricane Katrina. He digs deeps for answers and interviews a wide patch of people. It’s remarkable and must-see viewing.
foreign on DVD:
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
– A surprising and delightful film by Susanne Bier. A young couple intends to marry during a weekend in Naples, Italy they begin to question their relationship and their respective families start to unravel with their own problems. The bride’s mother, Ida, a hairdresser [Trine Dyrholm] who lost all her hair to cancer found her husband cheating on her with a younger woman. She traveled solo to Naples, Italy for the wedding. The groom’s father, Philip, [Pierce Brosnan] misses his wife who died in an accident many years ago and Italy brings back memories. Although Ida and Philip don’t get along at first they soon find themselves quite attracted to each other while their children seem less likely to get married as the weekend progresses.
Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry wrote a column in the Guardian about online misogyny. She spoke about the ease in which people feel it’s okay to write messages calling her a slut, threatening to rape her and pick her appearance and intelligence apart due to her gender.
In the piece she states:
“I should note here that I have never said that men – in the public eye or otherwise – do not receive such comments. I can, however, only speak of what I know, which is that the number of offensive messages directed towards me, “the girl singer,” compared to my bandmates is undeniably higher. I should also clarify that this has nothing to do with hating men, as some have suggested. I identify as a feminist but subscribe to the pretty basic definition of a feminist as “someone who seeks equality between the sexes”. I am now, and have always been, in bands with smart, supportive guys, and have many amazing men in my life as family and friends. For that I am incredibly grateful.
“Of my numerous personal failings (perpetual lateness; a tendency towards anxiety; a complete inability to bake anything, ever), naivety is not one. I am often cynical about aspects of the music industry and the media, and was sure from the off that this band would need to avoid doing certain things in order for us to be taken seriously as musicians – myself in particular. We have thus far been lucky enough to do things our own way and make a pretty decent job of our band without conforming to the “push the girl to the front” blueprint often relied upon by labels and management in a tragic attempt to sell records which has little to do with the music itself.”
super-feminist Natalie Portman spoke about feminism with Thor co-star Tom Hiddleston for the November issue of ELLE UK:
“I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad – human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a “feminist” story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathise with.”
he’s amazing in LUTHER and was brilliant in The Wire and RockN’Rolla
“Now that I’ve achieved some of the things that I’ve wanted to achieve, I’m not going to be a slave to it all of a sudden. I respect the artist that lives that way. The people that just go, ‘You’re going to hate me for what I just did, or you’re not going to understand why I made that film or that record or whatever, but what you are watching is someone that’s living their life.’ You know: I’m not watching you; you’re watching me.”
“That really is more about the writing of The Wire than it is the performance. You know, Stringer Bell is a great character that was written. I happened to play him, but it could’ve been anybody playing that role.”
12 Years a Slave [Oct 18]
Director: Steve McQueen
starring: Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt
–a free black man from upstate New York gets abducted and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War United States
Touchy Feely [Sept 6]
Writer/director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Rosemarie Dewitt, Ellen Page
–A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s floundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.
Enough Said [Sept 20]
written and directed by: Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
–a divorced woman learns the man she’s interested in is her new best friend’s ex-husband
Rush [Sept 27]
directed by: Ron Howard
Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Chris Hemsworth
–great competition between two British car racers in the 70s. looks amazing.
Don Jon [Sept 27]
written and directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Glenne Headly, Tony Danza
–guy addicted to porn. written and directed by JGL looks to have a lot to say about mass culture.
Gravity [Oct 4]
director: Alfonso Cuaron
starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
–an accident leaves an astronaut and an engineer adrift in space. this looks so freaky.
Runner Runner [Oct 4]
written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien
starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck
–not sure why Justin Timberlake’s been cast as a college student. It’s another of those off-shore entrepreneur meets an online poker player.
Captain Phillips [Oct 11]
Dir: Paul Greengrass
starring: Tom Hanks
–based on true story of ship hijacked by Somalian pirates. I’m all in.
Great Expectations [Oct 11]
directed by: Mike Newell
starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Flemyng, Toby Irvine
–A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [Nov 29]
starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris
Your Voice in My Head
Emma Watson (Harry Potter, The Bling Ring) is set to star in an adaptation of Emma Forrest’s memoir, Your Voice in My Head, about her descent into mental illness as she struggles to pursue relationships and a writing career, and how one doctor saved her life. Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall) will direct.
Winter’s Tale [Warner Bros.] in theaters February 14, 2014
The film stars Colin Farrell as a thief named Peter Lake who falls in love with a dying girl played by Jessica Brown Findlay [Downton Abbey]. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly also star in the film set in a mythic New York City.