Girls Rock

Posted March 6, 2008 in Film

Ex-roadie Misty founded her all-girl music camp after realizing the towering rock heroines of her youth like Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and The Muff’s Kim Shattuck had been initialized and mall-ized into Avril Lavigne. (What’s rebellious about shopping?). For five days every year, a new generation of screamers and strummers floods her school to form bands, write sings, and rock out for a crowd of 750 people. Arne Johnson and Shane King’s documentary is heavy on the talking (or shrieking) heads, but generally tracks huggy Korean metalhead Laura, posturing eight-year-old Palace, and Amelia, a tiny Frank Zappa who’s adamant about her discordant, alienating jams concerning her Chihuahua. The pressure’s on, but camp makes plenty of time for self-defense classes, rap sessions about bulimia and bullying, and a meet and greet with Beth Ditto of the Gossip. It’s aching to see how cocky elementary schoolers become high school teens too shy to bang the drums in front of friends; at the film’s core is a culture of girls wondering how loud to be. Over kaleidoscopic retro footage, Johnson and King dish out grim facts like on MTV, females are 25 times more likely to flaunt their tits than hold an instrument. The film’s eagerness to hit every note strikes a sloppy chord, but even as it loses direction, Laura’s breakthrough that “starting your own band is way cooler than having a boyfriend in a band” totally rocks. (Amy Nicholson)



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