Skip to main content


USA, 1996 (MIFF 1997, Documentaries)

Director: Ethan Minsker

Ethan Minsker's documentary investigates the ideas, attitudes and goals of women in the New York underground music scene. 15 bands, mostly unsigned acts with colourful names like Tribe 8, Vitapup and The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, are filmed going through their paces - everything from rehearsals, club dates with a handful of people in attendance, and the full­blown mini-concert spectacle. A variety of alter­native styles from punk to pop and back again, with a detour through poetry, are explored.

Despite the burgeoning success of women within the scene, they are still too often dis­missed and marginalised as militantly feminist or cute and entertaining. Most are lumped together as 'girl groups', regardless of style, tal­ent or musical content.

The use of abundant live footage from small nightclubs enhances the film's raw, intimate ambience. Those involved In other facets of the scene, such as fans, writers, promoters and activists, are also given a voice. Minsker's confi­dent production allows women to depict their own lives through their actions, words and art. Issues of artistic integrity run up against gender exploitation, ensuring that the film's interest car­ries well beyond its own milieu. If that isn't enough, standby for an onslaught of cutting edge, passionately delivered rock'n'roll.

See also...


Timothy Leary, who Richard Nixon called "the most dangerous man alive", makes a great subiect for a documentary. Paul David's remark­able and wildly entertaining look at the originator of the ... More »

The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage

This astounding documentary takes us to the high desert country of Mexico, where Sam Peckinpah shot his classic 1969 Western, The Wild Bunch. Archival clips alternate with excerpts from the film ... More »


This beautifully crafted short feature, examin­ing adolescent lesbian identity in the 1960s, is an absolute gem. Director Su Friedrich approaches her subject from a number of differ­ent ... More »


Gondolas, bazongas, marshmallow moun­tains, snack trays, baby bottles, puppies with pink noses, cha chas...Over 200 women, and one man, responded to filmmaker Meema Spadola's 'Breast ... More »


25 year old Judith Helfand is crewing on a doc­umentary about the cancerous effects of DES (a drug supposed to prevent miscarriages which was widely prescribed in the 1960s) when she discovers ... More »


Sunshine Hotel, the last stop before destitution. This Bowery flophouse is the setting for Michael Dominies exceptional, heart rending documentary. The film examines the lives of a number of men who ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director