The Go-Go's (2020) [Feature]

UK,USA (MIFF 2020 )
Director: Alison Ellwood

Fall “head over heels” for the first all-female band to play their own instruments, write their own songs and hit the big time, as this documentary reveals the sisterhood – and the managerial and personal setbacks – behind their success.

They sprang, fierce and fresh, from the Los Angeles punk scene, determined to make music their way. Their 1981 debut album spent six weeks at number one, and they’re still the bestselling all-female band of all time. Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Jane Wiedlin, Gina Schock and Kathy Valentine are the Go-Go’s, and they got the beat!

With an editor’s gift for montage, director Alison Ellwood (Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, MIFF 2011) stuffs this filmic valentine with archival footage that captures the band’s verve, while interviews with the band and those who followed them, including Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, celebrate their DIY defiance of music-industry sexism. But it’s not all jubilation: alongside the tight harmonies, catchy riffs and driving drums that made We Got the Beat, Our Lips are Sealed and Head Over Heels such influential classics, the documentary lays bare the feuds over business decisions, battles against drug use and drastic relationship changes as ‘punk’ turned into ‘popular’.

“A story of talent, will, friendship, addiction, and forgiveness … These ladies who have stayed brash and whipsmart have always been entirely punk.” – Film ThreatFall “head over heels” for the first all-female band to play their own instruments, write their own songs and hit the big time, as this documentary reveals the sisterhood – and the managerial and personal setbacks – behind their success.

They sprang, fierce and fresh, from the Los Angeles punk scene, determined to make music their way. Their 1981 debut album spent six weeks at number one, and they’re still the bestselling all-female band of all time. Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Jane Wiedlin, Gina Schock and Kathy Valentine are the Go-Go’s, and they got the beat!

With an editor’s gift for montage, director Alison Ellwood (Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, MIFF 2011) stuffs this filmic valentine with archival footage that captures the band’s verve, while interviews with the band and those who followed them, including Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, celebrate their DIY defiance of music-industry sexism. But it’s not all jubilation: alongside the tight harmonies, catchy riffs and driving drums that made We Got the Beat, Our Lips are Sealed and Head Over Heels such influential classics, the documentary lays bare the feuds over business decisions, battles against drug use and drastic relationship changes as ‘punk’ turned into ‘popular’.

“A story of talent, will, friendship, addiction, and forgiveness … These ladies who have stayed brash and whipsmart have always been entirely punk.” – Film Threat

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