Sending Off SXSW 2003

Film Reviews

RISE ABOVE: THE TRIBE 8 DOCUMENTARY

D: Tracy Flannigan; with Tribe 8.

Documentary Feature Special Screenings, World Premiere Raw, rude, and partly nude -- the lesbian punk rockers of Tribe 8 have offended a few delicate sensibilities. "I'm scared," says one guy after a show that includes, among other things, the lead singer demanding a straight male perform fellatio on her strap-on. It's a fuck-you flip-flop of the rock & roll power dynamic, but you don't have to like the S&M antics to enjoy Rise Above. "Everyone can hate Tribe 8," jokes guitarist Silas Flipper, and plenty people do, like the sensitive sisters of the Michigan Womyn's Festival, who protest the band's shocking sexplay. Documentarian Tracy Flannigan wisely intercuts scenes of Tribe 8 defending (or not, as the case may be) their stage act at the festival with live performances at West Coast dives, in all their gritty, sweaty splendor. Rise Above does sag toward the middle, whenever it strays too far from the music, but if you can get past all the blow-up dolls and castration fantasies, it's an inspiring story about a bunch of misfits finding their place.

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