…and the quest to see everything

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Apparently Michael Pitt played a young, clean-cut football jock in “Dawson’s Creek,” thus becoming the show’s second most successful alum. I watched the show’s first two seasons but I wouldn’t know. The Michael Pitt that I know is the one who got his rocks off at a tub, as well as other forays into American indie cinema.

ph. Warner

The off-Broadway incarnation of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” has its star, writer, and director John Cameron Mitchell plays both the titular East German transsexual rocker and her arch-rival Tommy Gnossis. The film begins with Hedwig singing one of her songs about the origin of love and he might as well be singing about their broken relationship as lovers and mirror images as well as about his disjointed body. In the film, Pitt plays Tommy and we can see the characters in their separate lives when Tommy has become famous and during flashbacks, when Hedwig is still singing in restaurants and Tommy is still a God-fearing 17-year-old. Instead of an off-screen reference, Hedwig now has someone to lust for, to break her heart and to plot revenge against.

Pardon my ignorance on queer trans body politics, but it’s easy to assume that drag is an exterior performance. Camp and sex appeal, essentially. There is some truth to this bravado in the film, as we look at Hedwig’s glazed eyes as he looks into the mirror, looking like one of the deadpan mannequin heads where he places his many wigs. But Mitchell also remarkably infuses interior layers within Hedwig, a confident performer and a vulnerable child. There’s a revelatory scene when he appeals to Tommy that he Tommy loves her, he should also love the front of her. Of course it’s a hard sell. Nonetheless, her drag side is so human that we the audience might be surprised at what she looks like in the end.

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4 responses

  1. I’ve become a fan of Mitchell so I’m definitely going to try and see this one. Have you seen SHORTBUS? It has to be the most awkward comedy ever made.

    September 4, 2011 at 1:34 am

    • I’ve seen one of the orgy scenes in a university lecture, actually. This professor is going to write about Cameron’s ‘collaborative’ method and queer cinema in general. This movie is in my collection, waiting to be watched in its entirety.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

  2. It’s been a while since my wife and I watched this, we’re probably due for a rewatching. The movie, and especially its soundtrack, is amazing. Thanks for the reminder!

    September 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    • Glad to know that this movie is good for the whole family! 🙂

      September 6, 2011 at 5:11 am

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