"Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death Story of Patty Schemel," P. David Ebersole's documentary about the life of Patty Schemel, the drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole, opens in New York today after playing at festivals worldwide, including SXSW and Sheffield Doc/Fest. The film expands to Los Angeles on April 20.
To mark the occasion, Indiewire asked Ebersole and producing partner Todd Hughes to share with us their top ten music documentaries of all time.
Check out their picks below:
"The Decline of Western Civilization" (1981 Dir: Penelope Spheris)
The ultimate DIY punk rock documentary. From the stark black-and-white interviews with teenage punkers against a bare light bulb to the gritty and hilarious “at home” interviews with superstars of the then exploding Los Angeles music scene (like Exene of X and Darby Crash of The Germs), Penelope Spheris’ effortless filmmaking wove together a vivid portrait of a true blank generation. Lines like “Eat my fuck” and “New wave is a figment of some lame cunt’s imagination” have become classic. Our interviewee Phranc makes her first onscreen appearance here, as a member of Catholic Discipline.
"Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc's Adventure in Plastic" (2001 Dir: Lisa Udelson)
A touching portrait of Phranc, the original Jewish lesbian folk singer, who rose to fame in the early '80s but found a new career in the '90s using her singing and performing talents to become one of the nation’s top Tupperware salesladies. Even after performing her original song “Tupperware Lady” on the Donny and Marie Show, director Udelson deftly captures Phranc’s ultimate sadness as her butch persona is shunned at a massive Tupperware convention.
"Woodstock" (1970 Dir: Michael Wadleigh)
The classic concert film featuring some of the greatest musicians of all time was the ultimate backstage pass, depicting everything from rock-star drug use to naked hippies frolicking in the mud. Young Martin Scorsese was one of the film’s seven editors. The gorgeous use of split screen was a major influence on "Hit So Hard" (and features our interviewee Dallas Taylor who was the drummer of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young).