Bright Lights Film Journal

Kamikaze Girls Gone Wildean

A rather drab weekend of movies seen by me this weekend, including covering UNDERDOG for another “ahem” employer. At any rate, I figured since I need cheering up I’ll write about the movie that rocked my world last week, which is KAMIKAZE GIRLS, recently screened at the Asian Film Festival but seen by me alone and miserable in the dead of night via DVD.

I mention all this because KAMIKAZE GIRLS has given me the strength to keep climbing as an artist, which is a weird thing to say in regards to a manga-based pop art comedy about the friendship of two rural Japanese oddball teenager chicks. And this isn’t I, may stress, one of those Japanese chick movies geared towards “ahem” Japenese businessmen whose level of repression demands maximum transgression, if I may coin a phrase. No, very little violence (except to those deserving!) and no sex and only one ripple of failed romance… not even hints of frustrated lesbian desire… NOTHING like that, and it’s sooo refreshing… this is a story meant for teenagers but also all those frustrated artist types of all ages who are continually at odds with making money vs. compromising, or working behind the dream machine apparatus and therefore losing half the magic of the dream.

One of the girls is a fashion plate dancing to her own “French Rococo Period” drummer, the other is a cycle punkette. Rather than forming a clique to fit in, the girls stay iconoclasts to the end; they ride alone, together. They come across as titans of genuine female teenager characterization in a cinema so utterly bankrupt of same that when a movie that makes a halfway effort, like MEAN GIRLS, it reaps decades of accolades. The artistic rescue sequences play like slow poison to the viewer’s artistic insecurities. You leave the theater realizing you have just been given the courage to go on and so your vices suddenly seem very uncool (neither of these girls drinks or does drugs. “Not even solvents?” one of her biker friends asks, surprised.

Not even solvents, man. Did I mention I quit smoking? Off they ride now… off to new adventures in fashion and bicycle chain beating. Ride, Kamikaze Girls, Ride!