Sunday, 7 July
The Slits documentary (Empowerment fest closing film)
HERE TO BE HEARD: THE STORY OF THE SLITS 2017 Directed by William E. Badgley 84 minutes In English
Once upon a time there was an explosive music movement called Punk. Sadly, outside a few exceptional bands, most of the scene quickly degenerated into genre stereotypes (black leather jackets, safety pins and torn t-shirts). Because this easy cliché that so many adopted was totally against the entire spirit of the movement.
Not all of the new crop of music bands gave into cynicism and the temptation of becoming a marketing gimmick... and one of the principle bands in the U.K. that was determined to start new musical fires was an all-female group called The Slits. Despite their intense creativity and legendary music, they were never given their due in the history books. The only reason for this seems to be that they were women. So now, after all these years, there is a documentary that stage-dives head first into the untold story of The Slits - their lives, their innovations, their imaginations, their shimmering brilliance. Where most male punk bands were playing little more than aggressive rock'n'roll, these women created something else. They didn't want to follow 'male rhythms' that were rigid and repetitive. They played what they felt deep inside, and created new sounds with off-beat, free-flowing structures. They were both loved and openly attacked because they refused to follow the role of 'typical girls'. As one person put it: "You have to understand, they deeply freaked people (society) out on a psychological level."
Between the archival documentation and concert registrations, we stumble across interviews with Neneh Cherry, Dennis Bovell, Paul Cook and of course The Slits themselves: Ari Up, Palmolive, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollit. A great little documentary that attempts to correct the male-dominated history books which silence the voices - and rhythms - of women.
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