New documentaries about Taylor Swift and the Go-Go’s, as well as a film from St. Vincent, was premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival
They were the first all-female band who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to earn a No. 1 album. They remain, by the way, the only one. They are among only a handful of musical acts who went to No. 1 on a debut album. (salon.com)
Where they stayed for six weeks. At the peak of their ’80s fame, their members faced addiction and open heart surgery. They’ve been on dozens of magazine covers and toured all around the world. But what really got me, somewhere in the midst of watching “The Go-Go’s,” was the nugget that Charlotte Caffey was once kicked out of Ozzy Osbourne’s dressing room for being too rowdy. These girls, they’re absolute legends.
After a Sundance debut earlier this year, Alison Ellwood’s effervescent Showtime documentary now comes on the heels of Liam Firmager’s “Suzi Q,” a similar exploration of a revolutionary female force in popular music. The two films serve as nostalgic companion pieces, time trips though very different eras in the recording industry. More than that, though, they’re testaments to the often overlooked legacy of female musicians. And they leave you wondering why so few women — and far fewer female bands — have been able to attain the success of their predecessors. “This is the dawning of a new era,” Gina says brightly to the camera in a clip from 1981. It’s four decades later, and Haim and The Chicks can’t be everywhere, everybody.
The Go-Go’s doc, meanwhile, is much more straightforward. Helmed by Alison Ellwood, The Go-Go’s will feature “candid testimonies” from the revolutionary outfit as it explores their rise from stalwarts of the L.A. punk scene to the first all-female band to play their own instruments and write their own songs to score a Number One album.
Watching the film, it’s pure pleasure to witness such scrappy exuberance, such mayhem so enthusiastically pursued. It’s awesome to learn that the women who gave us “Head Over Heels” played on the same bill as X. “People probably assume we were put together by some guy,” a band member correctly observes, “but we did it all ourselves.”