‘The Punk Singer’: What real grrrl power looks like

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The Punk Singer

What happens when punk rockers grow up? “The Punk Singer,” an affectionately spiky documentary about Kathleen Hanna, lead singer for Bikini Kill and icon of Riot Grrrl feminism, at first reveals the now-fortysomething Hanna as an alarmingly sedate suburbanite. Then director Sini Anderson throws on a clip of her subject at a 1991 spoken-word event, howling “I’m your biggest nightmare come to life -- a girl who won’t shut up!”

The rest of the film makes clear that, decades later, despite health issues and a shockingly happy marriage, she still won’t. As pointedly as “The Punk Singer” looks at the past, the movie’s uncertain where the energy of that original moment has gone. Where are the riot-grrrls of today? Take your daughters to the movie, then ask them.

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