Kamikaze Girls

Fukada plays Momoko, a schoolgirl in the second year of Junior High in a nowhere town of paddy fields two long train journeys from her favourite clothes shop in Tokyo where she buys roccoco-inspired 'Lolita' frilly dresses having conned money from her 'useless', separated, ex-minor-Yakuza father. She partners up with  a biker girl of opposite mienne.

Part of a Japanese trend for modern Shomin-geki (films about 'ordinary life') at which directors like Nakashima and Ishii Yuya have thrown the postmodern hand-book in fashioning youth-orientated primary-coloured parodies, this employs illustrated voice-over narration to vibrant effect. Some of its jabs and jives at consumerist conformism and the theoretically youth-endearing pop-edited styling of youth media and tv ads are Japan-specific but most will be recognisable and amusing to youth audiences in any developed capitalist society. Older audiences may be required to get back in touch with their adolescent appetites for garish  decor.

Two interesting factors 'Kamikaze Girls' has in common with many of these Shomin-geki  aimed at younger audiences is, firstly, their adoption into 'realist' cinema of fantasy elements derived from animation and comics; and, secondly, how they dignify their targeted audience  by, quite convincingly, making the youngsters seem older, wiser and more mature  than the variously fucked-up older generation who are trying to bring them up.

Release details

Release date: Friday June 6 2008
Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Cast: Anna Tsuchiya
Hiroyuki Miyasako
Sadao Abe
Kyoko Fukada
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