Undoing the Binarchy in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Jun 27, 2019


The title character of Hedwig and the Angry Inch embodies “a beautiful gender of one,” as writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell has said. Born male in East Berlin, the unforgettable heroine (Mitchell) undergoes all manner of physical and emotional trauma in order to undertake a new life in the United States, where she eventually achieves heroic self-realization onstage as a mighty rock diva. Among the supplements on our packed new edition of this exuberant musical is a wide-ranging, fifty-minute conversation with members of the cast and crew that touches on the film’s nuanced exploration of the process of identity formation. In the clip above, Mitchell, composer-lyricist Stephen Trask, and actor Miriam Shor (who plays Hedwig’s ex-drag-queen bandmate and lover Yitzhak) discuss how the musical lays bare the rigid, culturally prescribed binaries, from gender roles to political affiliations, that all too often define who we are—and shows the freedom that can come with refusing to conform to them.