Linda Linda Linda (Japan, director Nobuhiro Yamashita): Named for a song by legendary Japanese â€œpunksâ€ The Blue Hearts, this film tells the story of four girls who form a band for an end-of-year high school festival. They decide to play covers by The Blue Hearts, and although the film only covers a few frantic days of practice, the pace is sometimes glacial. Iâ€™m not sure that this is a bad thing, though it felt like the film wanted to go in two directions. On the one hand, it was a typically sentimental Japanese film about the passing of youth, and the director gives us a few shots of each of the girls smiling wistfully while gazing off in the distance. On the other hand, itâ€™s a film about a thrown-together-for-the-hell-of-it cover band, and it could have used a bit more of that kinetic attitude. That being said, it was hugely enjoyable (though probably a good 15 minutes too long), and Bae Doo Na, who plays the gawky Korean exchange student, literally steals the film. Her transformation from gawky outsider to sassy singer, though unrealistically quick, is endearing. And only in a Japanese film would someone get to sing the lyrics, â€œLike a rat, I want to be beautifulâ€ and make it sound heartfelt. Iâ€™m giving it a 7.5/10 (2.5 per chord!), even though my graphic below canâ€™t handle half-points.
9/14/05: After harbouring suspicion for a few days, I finally checked and confirmed that this film is NOT directed by the same guy that brought us Waterboys in 2001. That was Shinobu Yaguchi. But the two films are very similar, and equally fun.
Filmâ€™s Web Site (Japanese): http://www.linda3.com/
Bae Doo Naâ€™s Web Site (Korean): http://www.doona.net/
P.S. This film just made me want to listen to some good old-fashioned DIY three-chord rock and roll on the way home. Hereâ€™s what my iPod offered up:
- Spoon – You Gotta Feel It
- Teenage Head – Total Love
- Guided By Voices – A Good Flying Bird
Brilliant. Now I just have to find â€œLinda Linda Lindaâ€ by The Blue Hearts!
P.P.S. I was pleasantly surprised to see in the credits that the filmâ€™s music was by James Iha, ex-Smashing Pumpkins.
UPDATE 3/27/07: The film is being released on a Region 1 DVD on May 8, 2007.