Start your New Year off in a fierce way by watching the inspiring documentary The Punk Singer about Bikini Kill and Le Tigre feminist lead singer Kathleen Hanna.
Directed by Sini Anderson, this great music documentary shows the rise of Bikini Kill among a Pacific Northwest grunge/punk scene mostly populated by all-male bands and mosh pits. Hanna was an instrumental figure in the riot grrrl feminist movement within music during the ‘90s.
The documentary’s found footage shows Hanna’s incredible energy and intelligence during shows. In one of the clips, she champions having the girls and women move to the front—something never done at shows before. As Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Carrie Brownstein, and Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys attest in interviews, Hanna left an indelible mark on music and influenced countless others, such as Kurt Cobain.
Anderson does a good job of showing Hanna’s evolution through the years as Bikini Kill dissolves and she becomes a member of the seminal electronic band Le Tigre in the late ’90s. The film is propelled by the question of what happened to Hanna after the break-up of Le Tigre and her withdrawal from the public eye in 2005. The answer is unexpected and heartbreaking.
The Punk Singer is playing in theaters in New York and can be found on iTunes and Amazon Instant.