Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Girl Power
Short Take: Four female high school friends make a memorable rock band and a feminist reality.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2005
Duration: 114 min
Language: Japan/Japanese
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita
Writer: Kosuke Mukai, Wakako Miyashita
Starring: Doona Bae, Aki Maeda, Yuu Kashii, Shiori Sekine, Takayo Mimura, Shione Yukawa, Yuko Yamazaki, Masahiro Komoto, Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Katsuya Kobayashi, Keisuke Koide, Masaki Miura, Lily, Kaori Fujii, Koen Kondo

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Linda Linda LindaLinda Linda Linda (2005, Japan) relates the endearing and humorous story of a group of four high school girls who put their hearts into performing as a rock band at their high school’s festival.

With talented actresses, an original script, and a simple storyline, director Nobuhiro Yamashita creates an innocent, tender, and feminist [anti-sexist] reality in which social prejudices, high school cliques, and vanity are nonexistent. It could be considered a “girl power” film or subtly a “gender-bender” one. It is what life, or at least high school, would look like if girls could be girls.

Driven by friendship and dedication, and undeterred by their imperfect music skills, the four unpretentious girls are determined to perform. Practicing incessantly and under time pressure, each band member has charm in her own humble way. Son (Bae Doona) in particular, the school’s foreign exchange student from Korea and lanky-legged wide-eyed vocalist, overcomes her initial foreign language and singing insecurities to add color to the otherwise quiet and mundane suburban high school. Somewhat androgynous in their uniforms, messy hair, scuffed knees and no make-up, the band nuances the passive and/or kawaii cute Japanese school girl stereotype and put their energy and emotions not into securing a boyfriend or beating teenage awkwardness but rather into making an all-girl rock band work as a team.

The film is also memorable for its music—the catchy rock songs the girls rehearse are from the now classic 80’s Japanese band “The Blue Hearts.”

Overall, this is a “feel good” film. After you view it you’ll probably have a smile on your face and the songs in your head. And, if you’re like me, you’ll be wishing your high school had been like this one!

“Feminism is anti-sexism. [. . . ] We have created no schools founded on feminist [anti-sexist] principles for girls and boys, for women and men. By failing to create a mass-based educational movement to teach everyone about feminism [anti-sexism] we allow mainstream patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where folks learn about feminism, and most of what they learn is negative.” — bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody

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Megan S. is a native of Detroit, Michigan and currently teaches Spanish language and culture in New Zealand. A flâneuese at heart, she loves living in cities around the world and conducts research about urban culture. She is currently working on a book titled Public Everyday Space. Her interest in gender and film, and the main reason for contributing to this website, derive from both the lack of gender equality in her past and present, and the power of the public image to transform our immediate future. She believes gender inequality is intimately connected to all facets of discrimination (racial, economic, ethnic…etc.) and that talking publicly about these commonalities, along with the forces that separate them, is key to improving any situation. Visit her blog at megansaltzman.blogspot.com.