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ANYTHING BOYS CAN DO

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.

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