Beth B Discusses Her Retrospective on Lydia Lunch – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is almost here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX, get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series.

Dive into our Q&A with director Beth B as she tells us about her film Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over, which will screen in 24 Beats Per Second.

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Beth B: As New York City’s preeminent No Wave icon from the late 1970s, 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, the universal salve to all of our traumas.

What motivated you to tell this story?

BB: I’ve known and worked with New York No Wave legend Lydia Lunch since the late ’70s when we broke boundaries, confronting audiences with uncensored poetry, music, and films. Reflecting on the groundbreaking defiance Lydia has personified for over 30 years, she is a survivor who creates a dialogue of universal truth through her music and spoken word performances.

In 1984, she penned the subversive and prescient spoken word piece Daddy Dearest, defying the gag order, and spoke out about the sexual abuse she suffered as a young girl at the hands of her father. Women and children have been compelled to hide the abuses perpetrated against them, and/or have been re-victimized for speaking out.

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.

What do you want the audience to take away?

BB: My documentary films are social, political, and personal investigations — home movies focusing on people I know or have come to know. Lydia was 19 and I was 23 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.

I want people to understand that voicing the unheard and seeing the unseen creates dialogue, community, and a place for self-knowledge and acceptance. There is power in creating and claiming a new vision of woman.

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

BB: I was furiously working on my film, trying to raise funds to finish the film, and received a beautiful email from Janet [Pierson].

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

BB: As Lydia Lunch - The War Is Never Over focuses on the music and life of Lydia Lunch, it seemed the perfect fit for SXSW. It is not only a music film, but has a powerful message about the times we are living in and the voices that need to be heard again and again. The platform that SXSW offers for filmmakers and musicians is unique. They also invited her to perform live, which showcases not only the film, but Lydia Lunch in the flesh.

Add Lydia Lunch - The War Is Never Over to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

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Dive into 2019 Music Tracks

Lydia Lunch - The War Is Never Over - Photo by Kathleen Fox

By Neha Aziz