Archives / 2001 Sundance Film Festival

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Description

With wicked humor, explosive imagination, and a gold mine of original rock 'n' roll, John Cameron Mitchell makes an illustrious filmmaking debut with this screen adaptation of his critically acclaimed off-Broadway hit, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Hedwig was born a boy named Hansel in Communist East Berlin who dreamed of finding his other half and becoming a big American rock star. When a handsome American GI promises love and liberation, it seems like a dream come true. But there's a catch—in order to marry and emigrate Hansel must "leave a little something behind." Hedwig survives a botched sex change operation that leaves her with an "angry inch" only to be stranded in a Kansas trailer park the very day the Berlin Wall comes down. Undeterred, Hedwig dons immaculate makeup and a Farrah Fawcett wig and forms a rock band—The Angry Inch. While supporting herself with babysitting gigs, she falls for a 16-year-old Jesus freak she renames Tommy Gnosis. Tommy steals her songs and becomes the rock star Hedwig always dreamed she'd be. Refusing to be defeated, she fiercely performs in crumbling theme restaurants seeking recognition, retribution, and reconciliation with her other half.

A beautiful and transcendent spiritual journey, this brilliantly conceived musical is every bit as powerful on screen as it is on stage. With a sparkling performance by Mitchell as Hansel/Hedwig, a Grammy-nominated soundtrack by Stephen Trask, and beautiful animation sequences by Emily Hubley, Hedwig and the Angry Inch seems destined to take its place beside The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a cult classic for a new generation.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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