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Sunday, July 9, 2017

American Hardcore (2006)

This look back at the late punk rock scene (meaning that it focuses on the 1980's rather than going back to the 1970's) across America is fascinating and horrifying at the same time.  The film was made 20 years after the events portrayed, so it was almost exclusively men, mostly white men, reflecting back on the music that they performed and enjoyed in their late teens and early 20's.  The event it focused on was the election of Ronald Reagan precipitating or accelerating the punk rock movement.  Young white men were angry and they expressed that anger on stage and in the audience of punk rock shows.  All but one of the bands portrayed were non-musicians playing three discordant notes in apparently random order and shouting out angry lyrics.  One interviewee talked openly about raping (his word) unconscious women and thinking nothing of it.  The violence in general was endemic in the movement.  It escalated as years went on and was probably the death of the music. The documentary is fascinating in that there is no judgement, or even much commentary.  The filmmakers allow their subjects to portray hardcore punk and for the audience to draw its own conclusions.

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