An anatomically incorrect rock odyssey.
This film adaptation of the off-Broadway show about a rock artist with a botched sex-change operation behind him who sings about his upbringing behind the Berlin Wall, and how he was seduced by an American G.I., is not your average musical. But it did charm the Sundance film festival and it is impossible not to be impressed by John Cameron Mitchell’s directing debut – as well as his no-holds-barred performance as Hedwig. Her story is well told; guided by Stephen Trask’s engaging songs we follow Hedwig’s journey and experience dreams and sorrow. Very entertaining and creative (a few scenes use animation)… and it also has a big heart.
2001-U.S. 91 min. Color. Produced by Pamela Koffler, Katie Roumel, Christine Vachon. Written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Songs: Stephen Trask. Cast: John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig), Miriam Shor (Yitzhak), Stephen Trask (Skszp), Theodore Liscinski, Rob Campbell, Michael Aronov.
Quote: “How did some slip of a girly boy from communist East Berlin become the internationally ignored song stylist barely standing before you?” (Mitchell to his audience)
Last word: “Tommy [played by Michael Pitt] took the most time to find. So many different people and actors really wanted to be in the movie, and sometimes agents were like, ‘Well, he doesn’t read; he’ll meet, but he won’t read.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t cast if they don’t read.’ So it was a sort of a shock that I wasn’t doing such a big movie and that I was demanding that actors read. A lot of lazy actors wouldn’t learn their lines because they get cast anyway. And we didn’t have to cast any stars, because New Line didn’t demand that, to their credit. Except they demanded that I be in it”. (Mitchell, IndieWire)