Director-editor P. David Ebersole’s “Hit So Hard: The Life And Near Death Story of Patty Schemel” is a raucous documentary about a figure from the band Hole just as strong as notorious bandleader Courtney Love, drummer Patty Schemel. Schemel’s home movies, preserved as a carrying case of Hi-8 videotapes, provide pronounced muscle to the bone-hard construction of the film, illustrating more than one meaning to a familiar phrase: “live through this.” The video imagery is a profuse mess, unselfconsciously mirroring the slur-and-drang sound the band accomplished. Drug addiction is swept to the side by testimony to Schemel’s importance as a musician and as an openly lesbian rock ‘n’ roll figure. Emotionally raw, and with many thrilling moments, this is a near-tragedy of a life gone right. The contemporary interviews are sturdy and on point. Beware: there’s a surfeit of Courtney Love talking with her mouth so full. With Schemel, now sober and now a puppy-loving redhead life force. Love, Eric Erlandson, Melissa Auf der Maur, Gina Schock, Drew Barrymore, Roddy Bottum, Nina Gordon, Debbi Peterson, Phranc, Kate Schellenbach, Dallas Taylor, Sarah Vowell, Kurt Cobain. A lovely end-credit sequence of women reciting meaningful female drummers includes Jessica Hopper. 103m. (Ray Pride)
“Hit So Hard” opens Friday at Siskel
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.