RENDER: Spanning Time With Ani DiFranco
A Film By Hilary Golberg and Ani DiFranco
Label: Righteous Babe
Format: VHS/DVD
Release date: 11 June 2002

Ani DiFranco is more than a folksinger. If anything, she’s folk as funk. And she’s got soul, too. Render displays all of these qualities and more. It’s a documentary that covers several years in her career, as well as the different lineups she’s toured with, from a three-piece band to her much larger ensemble complete with horn section. We’ve allowed to see Ani not only on stage, but mixing down songs in the studio, speaking about Buffalo’s past and present as home to her record label, and sharing her opinions about the criminal justice system and capital punishment. These talks serve as appropriate lead-ins to songs like “subdivision” and “crime for crime.” But it’s certainly not all somber and serious - far from it. If anything, Ani knows how to keep things in perspective. On stage, she talks about the creation process when an adoring female screams, “I LOVE YOU!” Ani’s response: “Shit, that’s not the issue.” Idolizing and fantasizing continues during “imagine that”: as Ani serenades the crowd, two pairs of panties are thrown onto the stage, much to Ms. DiFranco’s bewilderment.
The band members and other label artists make for a wonderful “supporting cast” of sorts. Poet Sekou Sundiata gets all P-Funk on the crowd as Ani sings backup and the crowd loves every minute. And there’s a priceless moment towards the end featuring Bitch and Animal and their run-in with the law during their South Carolina performance. A large cross-section of Ani’s material is featured that spans at least a decade, going all the way back to her self-titled debut album. The DVD contains some great bonuses, including a extra live track (“in the way”) and interactive artist pages with a song from each Righteous Babe artist. A great way to gain deeper insight into an amazing songwriter and performer, as well as introduce yourself to the RBR talent roster.

{chloe knuckles}

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