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Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over by Beth B is the first career-spanning documentary retrospective of Lydia Lunch’s confrontational, acerbic, and always electric artistry. As New York City’s preeminent No Wave icon from the late ‘70s, Lunch has forged a lifetime of music and spoken word performance devoted to the utter right of any woman to indulge, seek pleasure, and to say “fuck you!” as loud as any man. In this time of endless attacks on women, this is a rallying cry to acknowledge the only thing that is going to bring us together: ART . . . as the universal salve to all of our traumas.


The film blends an audio bed of provocative stories with archival footage of 1970’s bands; archival photographs of the architectural landscape of New York City; newly created black-and-white animation; aftereffect graphics; interviews with Lydia Lunch and longtime Lunch collaborators; and extraordinary contemporary on-stage performances by Lunch. The film is not only about Lunch, but about the scene that she helped spawn, continues to grow and influence, and the creative people who join her in creating a new vision of woman. (APRIL 27-28)


Director’s Statement: Beth B

Voicing the unheard and seeing the unseen are themes that have run through my films with an eye to creating dialogue, community, and a place for self-knowledge and acceptance. My documentary films are social, political, and personal investigations; home movies focusing on people I know or have come to know. Lydia Lunch was nineteen and I was twenty-three when we met in the late ’70s New York music/film/art scene and brought our radical visions to the underground where we broke boundaries, simultaneously shocking and enticing our audiences with our uncensored music and films. Fast forward to a year ago, as I watched the ever-brash and luminous Lydia Lunch performing, I realized that I needed to make the definitive documentary about Lydia Lunch. With the current explosion of women stepping out of their silence regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, Lunch continues to expose the patriarchy, sexual abuse, the cycle of violence, and corporate greed with stubborn resistance. She was one of the first who stepped into the light to speak about these abuses of power. 


The style and fast pace of the film echoes the urgent, aggressive, unapologetic attitude that Lunch inhabits and is also reflected in some of my other documentaries. Riveting low fi archival footage of Lunch’s spoken word performances create a historical foundation to drill deeply into her psyche as well as into our cultural stagnation regarding violence, sex, and war. Interweaving raw personal vérité footage with classically composed interviews offers insights into the psychological and physical disturbance that drives Lydia Lunch. She is a complex character—a controversial, willful, and dramatic outsider artist.

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    75 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Beth B
  • Producer
    Beth B
  • Executive Producer
    Beth B, Amanda Kelso; Co-Executive Producers: Jane Friedman, Michael Zilkha
  • Cinematographer
    Peter Gordon, Beth B
  • Animator
    Stellar Leuna
  • Music
    Music Supervisor: Tom Garretson