Film Review: Suzi Q

Director Liam Firmager’s documentary feature traces the career path of Suzi Quatro, one of rock’s most influential women.

By

Rock queen Suzi Quatro, although born in Detroit and based in the UK, has found her greatest, most consistent success, in Australia. It seems therefore fitting that an Australian-based director, Liam Firmager, should produce this bio-documentary.

This first woman to front a rock band, Suzi Quatro also chose the less popular instrument in the bass guitar. Many of us of a certain generation grew up with the image of the diminutive woman, clad in leather, holding an enormous bass and belting out Can the Can.

Firmager presents a standard chronological narrative, interspersed with interviews: the Quatro sisters and brother; main songwriter Mike Chapman; ex-husband and band member Len Tuckey; those who have come after, such as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie; and of course, Suzi herself. An on-going theme through the movie is the complex relationship Suzi has with her sisters, due to the fact that they used to be a band together, before Suzi broke out on her own. The sadness of this unresolved resentment underpins much of the narrative.

Archival footage litters the work, adding depth and contrast, along with retro-inspired shots, and clips from TV shows, concerts and recording sessions.

Suzi Quatro is not really given the kudos she deserves for having blazed a trail for other female performers. One of the remits of this film is to redress that and put her in her rightful place in the Pantheon.

Like any good documentary this movie is of interest to a broader audience that just her fan-base. Anyone with an interest in music history, popular culture or feminism, will find a lot to love and be fascinated by in this tightly put-together piece of cinema.

Suzi Q is released on November 20th .

ROCKING 3.5 stars

Hot News