Arlecchino Cinema > 21:30


John Cameron Mitchell
Introduced by

Lee Kline (Criterion)


Friday 28/06/2019


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

1998 – the year John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask debuted their exuberant rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch in a small theater in New York’s West Village – is not yet ancient history. And the film that came to be made from that live show, in 2001, is both relevant to our times and restorative, a work of rapturous energy and humor that points a way forward. What makes a man a man and a woman a woman, and what radiant possibilities might there be in between? Everyone suffers at one time or another; what will you do with that suffering? Will you let it destroy you or fortify you? There are tragedy and betrayal in this story of a chanteuse named Hedwig, born male but forced into a back-alley sex-reassignment operation that is horribly botched, whose bitterness is fueled when the man she loves steals her songs and becomes a raging rock-and-roll success. […]
Throughout Hedwig, the character swings between the poles of vulnerability and rage. Hedwig’s story is heartbreaking and infuriating. But it’s also funny, the way any exaggerated tragedy can be funny. And that’s key to the whole enterprise: Hedwig’s heart has been broken multiple times, but she always comes back fighting, and she knows how to play the whole thing for maximum effect. And so does Mitchell. As a performer, he has lightning in his fingertips; as a director, he delights in both glitter and emotional grandeur – Hedwig may not be a big-budget film, but there’s nothing stingy or half-hearted about its staging or its style. Hedwig and her band – called (what else?) the Angry Inch, after her remaining nub of manhood – move from one Bilgewater’s to the next, adding more embroidery to our heroine’s story at each stop.

Stephanie Zacharek

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal musical omonimo (1998) di John Cameron Mitchell e Stephen Trask. Scen.: John Cameron Mitchell. F.: Frank G. DeMarco. M.: Andrew Marcus. Scgf.: Thérèse DePrez, Nancey Pankiw. Mus.: Stephen Trask. Int.: John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig), Michael Pitt (Tommy Gnosis), Miriam Shor (Yitzhak), Andrea Martin (Phylliss Stein), Stephen Trask (Skszp), Theodore Liscinski (Jacek), Rob Campbell (Krzysztof), Michael Aronov (Schlatko). Prod.: Christine Vachon, Katie Roumel, Pamela Koffler per Killer Films. DCP. D.: 95’. Col.