Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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Think of the warm and funny Hedwig and the Angry Inch as a cross between Fassbinder’s In a Year of 13 Moons and Todd Haynes’s glam opus The Velvet Goldmine. Though John Cameron Mitchell’s paean to an anguished German transsexual is far less formal than a Haynes production, it’s every bit as alive and stinging. Mitchell’s ability to suddenly rock out is key here but it should be noted that the actor-director truly understands the many socio-cultural pressures and gender displacement issues at afflict his character. The Angry Inch band embodies everything about Hedwig’s relationship to the world, beginning with the band’s name, which references Hedwig’s botched sex change operation, which left her with nothing more than a one-inch stub of flesh between her legs. Less gaga musical than it is a liberating rejoinder to transexual shame, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is ripe with sexual, cultural, and political discourse. Hedwig grew up in Germany and his decision to discard his penis coincides with the erection of the Berlin Wall, and just as the wall shifts and reshapes the country’s politics, Hedwig’s own penis seemingly revolts against its host body.

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DVD | Soundtrack
Distributor
Fine Line Features
Runtime
95 min
Rating
R
Year
2001
Director
John Cameron Mitchell
Screenwriter
John Cameron Mitchell
Cast
John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Michael Pitt, Andrea Martin, Alberta Watson, Stephen Trask, Theodore Liscinski, Rob Campbell, Michael Aranov, Gene Pyrz, Maurice Dean Wint, Renatta Options