Riot Grrrls On Film with LSFF: White Trash Girls, Gun Girls & Riot Grrrls.

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This month the Institute of Contemporary Arts hosted a packed out screening for White Trash Girls, Gun Girls & Riot Grrrls, a showing of seven short films. 25 odd years forward and the prolificacy of this momentous movement lives predominantly within the creation of music and cut & paste art off the time, London short film festival have taken the opportunity to show a lesser seen fragment of the crusade with an array of feminist films that your everyday 21st century internet fuelled Riot Grrrl may not know about. You may have missed it but luckily we were there to deliver you all the best girl power the 1990's had to offer.

Words by Rhiannon Thornton

screening for White Trash Girls, Gun Girls & Riot Grrrls

We're not knocking it, far from it, but the 1st and 2nd wave of feminism aren't for everyone. Although a copy of Bell-hooks and a look at the life and work of Susan B Anthony is nothing short of an exhilarating way to spend a Sunday afternoon (No sarcasm intended, cancel your weekend plans), the Riot Grrrl movement cottoned onto the realization that not everyone can find liberation in the written word, especially when those words are Antidisestablishmentarianism. But rather, can find it in the trashing of a drum, handheld 35mm camera or bedroom brewed zine.

Rather than appealing to the educated few Riot Grrrl spoke to the girls with too much to say and not enough time, side lined outcasts, rejected degenerates, hormonal bitches, cry-babies, fat girls with no fear, unapologetic thrill seekers, teenage dykes with pink hair and a mean snarl, crooked teeth and rage that could move mountains, Riot Grrrl was the movement to be a part off.

Prior to the growth of 1990's DIY culture, achieved by the availability of cheap and accessible means to create combined with brute energy, feminist know-how wasn't open to all. As anyone who has dared to take the plunge into a Judith Butler hardback knows, all this equality ain't as easy as you'd like. The 1990's seen a glass ceiling shatter with the underground uprising of a whole new sort of grass roots feminism, the 3rd wave harboured their anger and vehemently attacked with the emotional brashness of a generation of dissatisfied women and girls. The doors where open for more individuals than ever to join a movement, have their say, and feel supported while altering the landscape of possibility for what a woman can, or should be.

In Search of Margo

Kathleen Hanna, the most animated 80's looks you ever did see and a healthy serving of the surreal and queer all work in creating something of a DIY masterpiece. Directed and Starring Jill Reiter alongside Bikini Kills unsurpassable Kathleen Hanna, the 1994 film focuses on our two lycra spangled heroines, through the highs and lows of their electrifying pop career as they try to unfreeze themselves from the 80's. Reiter took huge influence from the decade, remembering it as a time before punk became macho-ified, when pink was still acceptable and musicians in the scene where free to be weird as they enjoyed without the pressure to fall in line to archetypal understanding of punk.


Damsel Jam

Sarah Miles creates an idyllic picture from the memories women reminisce on from their childhoods. Shot with an obscure Alice in Wonderland-esque eye, the film takes place in a red velvet draped car with the women and their child alters each sharing a key component from the age of 12 years old. Sarah Miles described the film as a quite literal translation of her life, explaining that numerus family and friends appeared in the short, "The film was a domestic affair, and I suppose my side effect of being a woman".

Grrrls on film

White Trash Girl

An unrestricted tale of ultra-blonde, bad girl protagonist, Angel. A girl who fittingly brings to mind the L7 lyrics, "She's fast, she's lean, she's frightttttening". It can be said that most films of this brand aren't seen as even half as shocking as they were during their conception, however this cannot be said for White Trash girl. Bore from an incestuous rape, flushed down the toilet and strengthened on a fuel off sewer sludge, this anti-hero portrays an alternative side to the movement, adorned in slogan necklaces, floral rings and an engulfing fur coat, Angel proves that docs and tartan aren't the only uniform of powerful women.

Gun girls