Film & Video
1 min

Pussy riot

A new film screening series focuses on punk women on screen

Scene from a film showcasing strong female leads in film. Credit: -

Diva-worshipping film studies graduate Jimmy Weaver celebrates strong female leads in punk cinema with his four-day screening series Ovarian Cysters: Punk Women on Film.

Weaver has long been a fan of the punk films of the late 1970s and ’80s, including both the “super low budget, outsider films” and the “kind of glossy, sort of ‘a star is born’ backstage musicals.” Whatever the budget, the films he’s chosen all have in common musicians from such bands as the Sex Pistols and The Clash and “the idea that you can craft your identity out of whatever you have around you, even when others are telling you not to.” 

The screening series was inspired by conversations with Videofag’s Jordan Tannahill. “I was struck by how no one’s brought these films together. They all have these really strong female leads, and I had just never really seen anything put them all together in one package,” Weaver says. 

Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens (1982) is one of the lower budget, independent films Weaver’s included. “[Seidelman] ended up going very commercial, but this is her first student film, which she made while living on the Lower East Side in New York,” Weaver says. The more commercial Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains (1982) “tries to cash in on punk in the early ’80s, but there’s something about it that kind of resists that. It ends up being this strange, feminist, girl-power, pre-riot-girl film.”

Also included is work by David Markey and Penelope Spheeris, along with three films by underground filmmaker Jon Moritsugu: Sleazy Rider, My Degeneration and the Canadian premiere of his latest film, Pig Death Machine